A decision to have a baby is often an exciting one for women and their partners but between 10 -15% of couples discover that they are infertile and may have difficulty having children.
Infertility and Stress
Infertility can be a major stress for women and their partners. Studies have found that more than 50% of women receiving infertility treatment felt that infertility was the most stressful experience of their lives.
Infertility and Mental Health Challenges
Women experiencing infertility and undergoing Assisted Reproductive Technologies may develop mood disorder symptoms:
- Women who continually face the disappointment of not conceiving month after month show more frequent signs of grief, depression, and anxiety.
- Most recently, research has shown a relationship between infertility and symptoms of depression. One study found that women who are infertile for over 12 months are twice as likely to report symptoms of depression than women who conceive within 12 months from a decision to become pregnant.
- Extremely high anxiety levels may affect the woman’s ability to conceive.
Treatment for Mental Health challenges and Infertility
At the Reproductive Mental Health Program, women with infertility are assessed for associated mood and anxiety disorders. Short term psychological support for women undergoing infertility investigations and treatments may be offered and, where necessary, medications will be initiated and monitored. There are often support groups in local communities to help women and their partners facing this issue which they find very helpful.
When to talk to your healthcare provider about how you are feeling
If you are being treated for infertility issues and are at all concerned about your emotions or mood, talk to your healthcare provider to obtain some additional support during this time.