New research shows you don’t need to worry about worrying

Talk to any of our female patients about the stress of infertility, and you will get similar responses. They will tell you how infertility is frightening and frustrating, and an overwhelming emotional roller coaster that affects their self-esteem and impacts every relationship, including with their partner, friends, and family members.

In addition to not being able to conceive and fulfill their dreams of motherhood, many of our patients worry that their stress will affect the outcome of treatment. Well-meaning loved ones may tell them to ‘just relax,’ when they can only do the opposite and may wonder if they are to blame for treatment failure. Landmark research from Dr. Ali Domar has demonstrated that the stress of infertility is comparable to that caused by a cancer diagnosis.

But we urge patients not to blame themselves. A new study provides reassuring evidence that a women’s emotional state does not have a strong connection with the success of infertility treatment.

Colleagues at Stony Brook University in New York co-authored this work, and the results were published recently in Social Science and Medicine. The investigators retrospectively analyzed more than 20 published studies involving 4000 women to conclude that a woman’s distress, including anxiety and depression, does not correlate with a failed cycle. The outcomes were consistent regardless of age, how long they tried to conceive, or history of treatment.

“Our results offer hope and optimism to the many women who feel emotionally responsible or blame themselves for poor outcomes of infertility treatment,” summarized Marci Lobel, Ph.D., one of the study authors.

Emotional support is important

Even though this analysis confirms there is no correlation between the strain of infertility and treatment success, we encourage you to find ways to take care of yourselves emotionally and physically. We want you to cope effectively during treatment. Of course, relaxing can be easier said than done.

Here are some ways you can reduce stress and take control of your life while experiencing infertility.

Speak to a professional

We can refer you to one of the many experienced licensed mental health professionals specializing in infertility who can help you navigate the fertility journey either as an individual or a couple.

Find support through infertility organizations

Nonprofits like RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association offer both in-person and online support groups, often coordinated by peer leaders, that provide an outlet for discussion, support, and community.

Try mind-body techniques

Many patients greatly benefit from techniques like yoga, relaxation methods, and guided imagery. Others find relief through journal writing or expressing themselves creative expressions.

Provide help for your partner

Men often are silent about the stress they feel about the infertility experience. They may feel society expects them to be strong for their partners when, in fact, they may be just as overwhelmed.

Rely on your HRC Fertility team

Every member of the HRC Fertility team is available to lend you an ear when you need someone to listen to your concerns and provide guidance. We are here to help you cope emotionally as well resolve your infertility.