How Infertility Affects Your Mental Health

For many couples, bringing a baby into the world is a joyous occasion. However, as many as 15% of couples in the United States struggle to conceive after 12 months of trying. While it may seem as though there’s a lot of fun in trying to get pregnant, when you don’t get the results you’re looking for as quickly as you’d hoped, fun may be the farthest thing from your mind.

At Maria Cole Family Practice in Odessa, Texas, our health care experts, Maria Cole, FNP and Kelly Wenger, FNP, see firsthand the effects infertility has on a couple’s emotional and mental well-being, effects which may further hamper their ability to conceive. 

Infertility doesn’t mean you can’t get pregnant

Infertility is medically defined as the inability to conceive after 12 months of trying. For women 35 and over, infertility is the inability to conceive after six months of trying. 

When you’re told you’re infertile, your first thought may be “I’ll never have a child.” But that’s far from the truth. While you may be experiencing some difficulties trying to get pregnant, it doesn’t mean it’s an impossibility. Once you know the reason why you’re having issues, then you can take steps to address it. For women, irregular ovulation is the most common cause of infertility.

And while women often bear much of the emotional burden when it comes to not being able to conceive, infertility is fairly equal biologically between the sexes. 

Infertility and mental health

No matter where the problem lies, not being able to conceive can take its toll on your relationship. Many couples report feeling stressed, depressed, and anxious when dealing with infertility. Both men and women also report that infertility is one of the most difficult things they’ve ever had to go through. 

You may experience the same feelings that occur when you lose a close friend or relative,  including grief, shock, depression, and anger. Infertility can also affect your self-esteem and self-confidence.

Unfortunately, the mental health burden that comes with infertility may further exacerbate your inability to conceive. Depression alters your hormonal functions, including the hormones that assist with ovulation. Immune health may also be impaired by your mental health changes, further hampering your ability to conceive. And to cope with stress and depression, you may turn to unhealthy habits, such as smoking or alcohol; these, too, may affect fertility. 

Many conception options

At Maria Cole Family Practice, we want you to know that we understand how you feel. When you come in seeking help with infertility, we create a personalized treatment plan that nurtures both your physical and mental health to ensure you get the best possible outcomes.

To improve your chances of conception, we offer two treatment options that improve ovulation, including clomid and gonadotropin therapies. Due to the effects these medications have on your hormone levels, you can experience changes in mood, which is something we keep a close eye on during your treatment.

We also offer intrauterine insemination as a treatment option. During this in-office procedure, we inject sperm directly into your uterus during ovulation. We may combine the medications that increase ovulation with intrauterine insemination, depending on your needs.

And if we can’t help you here at Maria Cole Family Practice, then we can refer you to the best infertility specialists in the area who offer more extensive options, such as in vitro fertilization.

Infertility can affect all aspects of your life and take a significant toll on your mental health. To take control of your health and your fertility, call Maria Cole Family Practice at 432-200-9087 today for an appointment with our infertility specialists.  

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