How to Cope with Infertility

FertilityNow

Mindfulness has become extremely popular over the past decade . . . and for good reason. Our lives seem to be more stressful and full of anxiety than ever, and we need a way to find equanimity in the face of it all. In its essence, mindfulness is learning to accept reality for what it is with a sense of peace and stability so that we can better deal with life’s challenges.

One of the biggest challenges that life can throw at us is infertility.

Why is infertility viewed as a life crisis? Infertility reaches into the most important areas of our lives: our relationships, our careers, our finances, and especially our sense of self. It is typically experienced as one of the most difficult situations ever encountered. Read more...

Everyone faces stress in their lives but research shows some life events – the death of someone close, a divorce, or loss of a job – have a bigger impact than others. Add infertility to the list as causing major stress: evidence shows that women faced with infertility have stress levels comparable to being a cancer patient.

But what about men? Read more

Keeping stress at bay is important for couples trying to get pregnant. While the impact of stress on infertility is not well understood, the consequences do affect the probability of getting pregnant. Stress can cause poor sleep, unhealthy eating and weight gain, smoking and drinking – all known to have a negative impact on fertility. As RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association points out “While stress does not cause infertility, infertility most definitely causes stress.” Read more...

Living with infertility can be stressful – on yourself and on those you love. While occasional frustrations are normal, how do you know when it's more seriously impacting your emotional life? To better understand your anxiety levels, take the stress information test below. Your answers are confidential and will not be shared with or sold to an outside source. Take the Infertility Stress Test.

What impact does infertility have on psychological well being? Infertility often creates one of the most distressing life crises that a couple has ever experienced together. The long term inability to conceive a child can evoke significant feelings of loss. Coping with the multitude of medical decisions and the uncertainties that infertility brings can create great emotional upheaval for most couples. If you find yourself feeling anxious, depressed, out of control, or isolated, you are not alone.

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Everyone has feelings and emotional ups and downs as they pursue infertility treatment. Feeling overwhelmed at times is a perfectly normal response. However, if you experience any of the following symptoms over a prolonged period of time, you may benefit a great deal from working with a mental health professional: loss of interest in usual activities; depression that doesn't lift; strained interpersonal relationships (with partner, family, friends and/or colleagues); difficulty thinking of anything other than your infertility; high levels of anxiety; diminished ability to accomplish tasks; difficulty with concentration; change in your sleep patterns (difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, early morning awakening, sleeping more than usual for you); change in your appetite or weight (increase or decrease); increased use of drugs or alcohol; thoughts about death or suicide; social isolation; persistent feelings of pessimism, guilt, or worthlessness; persistent feelings of bitterness or anger. Read more...

The first internationally validated instrument to measure quality of life in individuals experiencing fertility problems. The questionnaire will ask you about your thoughts and feelings. At the end you can have the results emailed to an address of your choice.  Fill out the questionnaire here.

Each person experiences their infertility journey in a unique way. Yet, for most facing the diagnosis there are common feelings shared by others: sadness, anger, fear, stress, isolation…..and hope. While all humans desire to connect with others, some life events make us long for it even more in search of understanding and support.

The desire to connect for support and solace is clearly visible among the Trying to Conceive (TTC) community. Read more...

Nearly 10-25% of pregnancies may end with a miscarriage. In addition to the grief from such a loss, many women and their partners wonder if they will still be able to have a successful pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby afterward. They also wonder what went wrong and if anything they did contributed to their loss. Read more...

Women reporting sleep problems – other than sleep apnea – were 3.7 times more likely to be at risk for infertility than women with normal sleep patterns according to a large study of more than 16,000 women in Taiwan over a ten-year period. The risk was highest in women aged 26-30. Sleep apnea has previously been linked to fertility problems for women and is also associated with other health conditions including obesity, heart disease and diabetes, all of which affect fertility. Read more...

Social media has helped move issues such as infertility out of the shadows along with the willingness of some celebrities to share their own struggles of trying to have a baby. While the latter may be a conversation starter, what can you do if someone you know is having ongoing trouble trying to get pregnant? Read more...

The topic of infertility is often in the news – from celebrities sharing their personal struggles to the latest medical treatments available to help you have a baby.

Most recently, Chrissy Teigen and Tyra Banks discussed their own painful experience on their show FABLife. For Teigen, married to musician John Legend, constantly being asked why she doesn’t have children has been intrusive. Still, she noted that the minute you open up about having problems getting pregnant, you find out how many other people are also seeing fertility specialists. Read more...

With the recent suspension of most medical treatments for infertility in the United States, people are worried. They’re concerned that their chances for having a child are decreasing. They’re wondering if they will have to go back to square one when it comes to getting treatment. And they’re concerned that COVID-19 could have negative effects for in utero development and for newborns. If they have embryos stored, they worry about them.

While all of these concerns are legitimate, the reality is that there are things that individuals and couples who are trying to get pregnant can do for themselves, even while medical care is unavailable. Read more...

My now ex-husband, Jason, and I struggled with infertility for about 5 years. We conceived naturally the first time, but I miscarried our little girl at about 17 weeks when my water broke in the middle of the night. After that, there was radio silence in my uterus. So we got on the fertility train: the tracks with lots of twists and turns, but no stops, no final destination. Read more...

Mother’s Day is not just another Sunday in May for women who are already dealing with the challenges of infertility. It’s a big splashy, impossible-to-miss holiday with flowers, cards, brunch and family get-togethers. Unlike other holidays that more broadly focus on families or couples – like Christmas and Valentine’s Day – Mother’s Day celebrates one unique and treasured relationship. For women with an infertility diagnosis, the holiday can feel especially painful and isolating. Read more...

Valentine’s Day might be considered the “official” day to show your love to your partner but for couples facing infertility, recapturing romance can be challenging. The stress of treatment – and all it involves – can feel exhausting, affecting your sleep and mood. Not to mention the need to schedule sex. Read more...

Holidays can be a challenging time to maintain positive lifestyle goals to eat healthy, drink moderately, exercise and minimize stress. It’s easy to blow off the best of intentions starting with Thanksgiving and ending with New Year’s celebrations. Still, if you’ve been coping with the challenges of infertility, there’s more reason than ever to do your best. Read more...

This time of year, there’s an abundance of advice telling you how to remain healthy and avoid the stress of the holidays and the New Year.

For couples trying to start a family and coping with infertility, the advice takes on special meaning as lifestyle choices – no matter the time of year – impact your fertility in major ways. And, for many, holidays without children – when you’ve been trying to have a baby – adds stress and sadness that make keeping health resolutions even more challenging.

As part of our wish for a happy, healthy holiday and year ahead, we share advice from RESOLVE, The National Infertility Association, with tips designed to keep your equilibrium when regular “baby blues” can turn into intense “holiday baby blues.” Read more...

Not being able to conceive when you want to is really hard, and not being able to discuss the intensely personal issue with family or friends due to cultural issues can make the situation even more painful.

In her column titled “How Woman Around the World Cope with Infertility,” Karen Springer tells Mamta Jhunjhun Wala’s story. Wala, of Mumbai says, “People ask a woman’s name—and then, ‘How many children do you have?’ When the woman answers ‘none’, […] they don’t know what they can talk to you about.” Read more...

Pregnancy can be a wonderful and magical experience for those who choose to become parents, but for so many women in the world, it can also bring great heartache. Although fairly common, the concept of miscarriage is still a topic that not many people discuss openly. Of course, experiencing pregnancy loss is not something a person can just forget. However, there are ways to cope with the tragedy, even if every person handles it differently. Read more...

Check out the FIGO Fertility Toolbox to help you work through personal and societal barriers to fertility treatment. Read more...