How Infertility Affects Your Mental Health

If you or your partner have received a diagnosis of infertility, it most likely has a physical cause. However, its impact can go beyond the physical. While your mental health has no direct impact on your fertility, infertility causes many couples to experience increased stress and emotional distress.

Taking care of your mental health is just as important as treating the underlying physical causes of infertility. OB/GYN Dr. Jehudah Renan is a fertility specialist who cares for patients in the San Fernando Valley at his office in Tarzana, California. He takes special care to ensure that his patients receive support for their mental health during infertility treatment.

Stress and infertility often go hand in hand

If you’ve been experiencing stress, frustration, or emotional distress since struggling to conceive, you aren’t alone. Research shows that the majority of people seeking infertility treatment experience increased stress levels.

It’s common to feel sad and frustrated after a year of trying without a successful pregnancy, especially if you’ve watched friends and family conceive easily or haven’t opened up about your struggles.

Infertility treatment can be stressful, too, especially since if it takes multiple treatment cycles and attempts to have a successful pregnancy.

Infertility, anxiety, and depression

For some couples, their emotional distress during infertility treatment meets the criteria for a mental health diagnosis. Up to half of patients with infertility meet the criteria for a diagnosis of anxiety or clinical depression.

You can develop anxiety and depression from the challenges infertility brings even if you’ve never previously needed mental health support. It’s important to learn the symptoms of anxiety and clinical depression so you can seek our help, if needed.

If you find yourself intensely worried beyond your usual anxiety, you might have generalized anxiety disorder. Symptoms include feelings of heightened terror or fear, nervousness, and difficulty sleeping or focusing on anything other than the anxiety.

Clinical depression develops when your feelings go beyond “the blues,” and you struggle to manage in everyday life. Symptoms of depression include feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and hopelessness, as well as loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, and changes in your sleeping and eating patterns.

How you can get help

If you’re experiencing any mental health distress resulting from infertility, it’s important to let your doctor know. By getting the help you need, you’ll not only reduce your stress, you’ll also have an easier time persevering through infertility treatment toward a successful pregnancy.

Dr. Renan ensures his patients get compassionate, thorough mental health support as part of their infertility treatment. At your initial visit, Dr. Renan asks you about past or present mental health diagnoses and continues to check in about how you and your partner are feeling throughout the treatment.

If you start to experience increased stress at any point during infertility treatment, it’s important to let Dr. Renan know. Depending on your symptoms and needs, he might refer you for additional support, such as talk therapy or a support group.

If you’re having difficulty conceiving, Dr. Renan offers infertility treatment with full support throughout the process. Request your initial appointment through our online system, or call our office.

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