Psychological Aspects of Infertility Treatment

Infertility pic

Infertility
Image: health.harvard.edu

Shulamit Glaubach, MD, is triple boarded in child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry. As well as working with children and adolescents, Shulamit Glaubach, MD, works with adults dealing with life difficulties like infertility.

Many couples (heterosexual and homosexual) and single individuals who struggle with infertility experience a variety of negative feelings stemming from their difficulty in conceiving and having a child naturally. They might feel stigmatized or unsupported, develop feelings of low self-esteem, or become anxious or depressed. After trying unsuccessfully for a child, the individual(s) may decide to pursue specialized fertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilization. While these efforts can lead to positive results, they are also associated with new psychological struggles or difficulties that are important to be aware of.

For instance, hormonal medications and fertility drugs can have side effects such as difficulty sleeping and irritability, which can create tension in the relationship or poor overall well-being, such as headaches. The individual(s) may find that their lives seem to revolve around fertility treatments and the woman’s ovulation cycles, factors which may take away spontaneity from their love life and add stress. With having a baby being a key focus in their lives, the individual(s) may decide to postpone reaching personal goals such as going back to school or traveling. This can lead to general feelings of dissatisfaction over time. Finally, on top of these factors, the costs of pursuing fertility treatments can create a financial burden. The individual(s) may find that they argue more due to money worries and other anxieties.

Since the course of infertility treatments can be a difficult time, individual(s) should not hesitate to seek help. Counseling and psychotherapy can help them talk through and understand their emotions. They can also learn techniques to help them manage anxiety or feelings of sadness. Some techniques include but are not limited to, acupuncture, breathing techniques, mindfulness, and meditation.