Mitigating the Impact of Stress on Infertility
Recognizing a mind-body connection to infertility, our Dallas – Fort Worth Fertility Associates team will provide resources to help you deal with the emotional aspect of undergoing fertility treatment. Learning to manage stress will improve your overall health, wellbeing and, some studies show, chances for conceiving.
You likely have questions about the connection between stress and infertility. The physicians at Dallas – Fort Worth Fertility Associates emphasize that no two patients are alike, and that your body’s reaction to stress may not interfere with reproduction.
We can all agree, as patients and fertility specialists, that the inability to get pregnant causes stress. After decades of debate and study, the preponderance of research suggests that stress may contribute to infertility in these manifestations:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Interrupted ovulation
- Abnormal sperm production
Often-Cited Studies Examine the Link Between Stress and Infertility
It’s important to note that many studies ask participants to self-report their level of stress, asking men and women to subjectively report how stressed they feel. Some studies, however, measure hormones and biomarkers. Our fertility clinic pays close attention to how a study physiologically measures stress.
- The American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s (ASRM) journal, Fertility and Sterility, published a study in 2010 linking the presence of elevated stress biomarkers in a woman’s saliva to the extended time it took to conceive. Those with high concentrations of the stress hormone alpha-amylase were 12 percent less likely to get pregnant.*
- German studies published in Fertility and Sterility compared women who had acupuncture treatments prior to IVF to women who did not. Pregnancy success rates were more than 20 percent higher in women who had acupuncture.
As members of ASRM, we point our patients toward a Fact Sheet** that contains this summary statement: Even though infertility is very stressful, there isn’t any proof that stress causes infertility.
The effects of stress may contribute to infertility in some patients, so it’s best for anyone proactively trying to get pregnant to adopt stress-reducing strategies to complement fertility treatment.
At Dallas – Fort Worth Fertility Associates, we recommend adjunct therapies to manage stress and infertility:
- Moderate exercise
Don’t discount the toll that infertility treatment can take on your mental wellbeing. Research shows that while men tend to internalize their stress, women find relief in talking about their stressors.*** It’s important to recognize the difference, and work together, not against one another.
It’s well noted that the stress levels of people facing infertility are equivalent to those diagnosed with cancer or heart disease.
Ask us for the Dallas, Fort Worth and Southlake resources that can help support you during infertility treatment. Stress and infertility are undoubtedly linked, but stress reactions are within your power to control. Support groups, counselors, yoga studios and acupuncturists specializing in infertility can equip you for the journey ahead.