What Are the Psychological Issues Related to Infertility?

By (embryologist) and (fertility counselor).
Last Update: 04/10/2014

For a couple who is facing infertility problems, it is very important to receive psychological support. The response to an infertility diagnosis varies according to each person and their personal situation, personality, and how they decide to confront the problem.

The emotional impact has to be faced before, during, and after undergoing the specific treatment. For this reason, it is highly important to be ready to deal with this difficult period in one's life. With emotional support and a good mental state, the emotional pain caused by infertility can be reduced.

Provided bellow is an index with the 4 points we are going to expand on in this article.

How does infertility affect couples?

The support for the sterile couple includes psychological support from the very first moment in which the problem is detected.

It has been proved that couples diagnosed with infertility suffer mood alterations which are a direct consequence of the problem itself and the search for a solution. They can also be a consequence of the treatments underwent.

Even though the kind of therapy that is offered to patients depends on the cause of their stress and the resources of the clinic, it is recommended that everyone who is to undergo an assisted reproductive treatment visits a reproductive psychologist with their partner.

During these sessions, people talk more openly about the issue and their feelings towards the situation they are facing. Once the problem has been detected, the sessions can be done together or separately.

Psychological support during fertility treatments

The most frequent areas of action, with these people, are:

  • To make it easier for them to express their feelings.
  • To educate the couple regarding infertility, i.e., to make sure that they have all the information they need to make a decision about the treatments they are going to undergo.
  • To cater them to everything they might need to help them through the situation and the whole process, either individually or by means of therapeutic support group.

Sharing the problem with others is very important because it helps the couple, mostly the woman, to express their feelings, doubts and concerns about the medical personnel.

It also helps you to ask for a written proof from your doctor for work or to decline meeting with pregnant friends or with children. This social communication can be useful for women to know how to respond to insensitive comments from unknown people, friends or relatives.

Besides, this therapy can make the couple's relationship stronger, it promotes the support and intimacy, it increases the one-to-one relationship and reduces the stress. It is important to point out the sex therapy and its importance for the couple because it helps them channel their sex life. Sex therapy in cases of sexual dysfunctions.

Getting to know other's experiences

For many couples, it is a relief to keep in contact with other people in their same situation. There are different ways to keep in touch with these people; sometimes in the waiting room patients start talking and they realize they have a lot in common and decide to interchange their address to keep in contact outside the clinic.

These new friends can be very important, especially when patients are being tested and starting the treatment. This new friendship can help patients avoid isolation. However, it is necessary to be aware that each couple is different and the solution to their situation cannot be predicted by anyone else.

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 Cristina Mestre Ferrer
Cristina Mestre Ferrer
B.Sc., M.Sc.
Bachelor's Degree in Biological Sciences, Genetics & Human Reproduction from the University of Valencia (UV). Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the UV and the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Embryologist at IVI Barcelona. More information about Cristina Mestre Ferrer
Adapted into english by:
 Sandra Fernández
Sandra Fernández
B.A., M.A.
Fertility Counselor
Bachelor of Arts in Translation and Interpreting (English, Spanish, Catalan, German) from the University of Valencia (UV) and Heriot-Watt University, Riccarton Campus (Edinburgh, UK). Postgraduate Course in Legal Translation from the University of Valencia. Specialist in Medical Translation, with several years of experience in the field of Assisted Reproduction. More information about Sandra Fernández

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