The relationship between stress and fertility is a topic that preoccupies fertility specialists. Firstly, because stress is not an easy symptom to study - it is difficult to find out what causes stress during an ordinary consultation - and secondly, because the medical act itself is a cause of stress for most patients.
In a stressful situation, our body releases a set of hormones, neurotransmitters and cytokines that are capable of altering our biological balance. When under a lot of stress, the human body releases adrenaline. This hormone allows the body to redistribute blood flow, directing it more towards the organs responsible for preparing us to flee and, as a result, reduces the blood supply to non-essential organs, such as the uterus. Less blood flow to the uterus means a less receptive endometrium.
On the other hand, when stress becomes chronic, cortisol is released into the bloodstream. This hormone can also have a negative effect on reproduction, as it alters the metabolism of sex hormones and thus the receptivity of the uterus to an embryo that would like to develop.
Finally, studies suggest that stress may also alter the behaviour of our immune system, inducing states of hyper-immunity or immunosuppression, which would also have consequences for the success and development of a pregnancy.