Stress is not a cause of infertility
Infertility is caused by things like a male factor (low sperm count) or female factor (blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis, low egg number). But stress is not a cause of infertility.
Stress is very common when trying to conceive. As many as 57% of patients have clinical depression or anxiety before they even start fertility treatments. Stress during infertility can also be severe: many couples report higher stress levels with infertility diagnosis than those with a new diagnosis of cancer.
Stress is something we need to consider because it is common in couples with infertility and because it impacts the chances of being successful with treatment. Stress reduction can increase chances of success with treatment and improve pregnancy rates. This is true regardless of stress reduction technique: yoga, meditation, acupuncture, and/or therapy.
I take a pro-active approach and talk about stress with all of my patients. At the new visit, I review how common stress is with infertility and provide resources. I also will try to check in on my patients during fertility treatments and ask “How are you doing with the emotional aspects of your treatment?” At times, I recommend pausing fertility treatments to optimize mental health.
The best way to have a healthy uncomplicated pregnancy is to start with a happy healthy family before conception. You are not alone. Your mental health is worth taking care of and so are you. ❤️