‘Relax and it will happen’ is advice most infertility patients hate to hear. For many, it implies getting pregnant may be their fault. This, in turn, only makes them feel more stressed, leading to a vicious cycle of self-blame. This statement can be especially hurtful for couples with a diagnosis of male fertility, blocked fallopian tubes or another condition where they will not get pregnant without a doctor’s help, regardless of their stress level.

Young couple sittin back to back on the sofa,having relationship

One of the most perplexing issues confronting the infertility field is the true relationship between stress and infertility and stress and IVF success rates. Even a review of the peer-reviewed literature on the subject does not yield a conclusive answer. While it is unclear about the role of stress, we know alleviating stress levels and learning coping techniques can help patients feel more in control and better about themselves, their bodies and their treatment plan. It is also beneficial to your overall health, including blood pressure and heart rate.

Your stress is real
Groundbreaking research from Dr. Alice Domar*, a world-renowned psychologist in the infertility field, has shown that the stress of infertility is comparable to the stress experienced by cancer patients and those with other serious illnesses.

Along with the stress of not being able to have a baby, infertility treatment itself can be stressful. There are many injections, monitoring tests, and procedures. If you don’t have health insurance coverage, paying for care is an added stress factor.

At HRC Fertility, our goal always has been to help our patients navigate their journey compassionately and efficiently. We try not to burden you with unnecessary tests. We hire administrative and clinical staff members who understand the emotional pain of infertility and who will treat you with respect and compassion. We are upfront about costs, insurance coverage and methods to help pay for treatment. We communicate with you effectively so you will always know the next steps in your treatment protocol. If you have a question, someone will get back to you promptly, not leaving you to wonder what to do next. Most importantly, we are both hopeful and realistic about your chances to become parents. We feel all these steps contribute to a more content, relaxed experience.

De-stress your life**
We also recommend several different types of stress-reduction strategies:

  • Simply your life: Try to avoid stress triggers like baby showers, children-filled activities or taking on stressful work projects, if possible.
  • Incorporate coping strategies and relaxation techniques into your routine: There are programs for every type of personality and budget. Some of the most popular ones include acupuncture, guided imagery, journaling, massage therapy, meditation, mind-body groups and support/educational groups, to name a few. We can refer you to experienced professionals in these modalities.
  • Find support: Get support from other infertility patients who ‘get’ what you are experiencing. Many have found infertility support groups to be very helpful and rewarding. Contact www.resolve.org to learn about local options.
  • Indulge yourself: Do you like manicures, pedicures or massages? Can you afford a weekend getaway or even a ‘staycation’, where you can binge watch that television show everyone is talking about? Put yourself first while trying to reduce stress. Indulging a little may pay off with big benefits.
  • Though we cannot guarantee a totally stress-free experience, we are dedicated to making sure your treatment regimen is a holistic one of excellent clinical care, compassion and commitment to helping you succeed.

    ** http://www.asrm.org/FACTSHEET_Stress_and_Infertility/