Stress and Infertility: What’s the connection?
Have you felt frustrated or irritated when someone says, “Just relax, and you’ll get pregnant!” –Don’t we all wish it were this easy? Anyone who has experienced infertility knows can be stressful, but is the opposite true—can stress cause infertility?
Research suggests that psychological stress and fertility are connected, but we don’t fully understand how. Infertility can evoke a wide range of emotions ranging from sadness, depression and grief to anxiety or isolation. Research has shown that psychological counseling can be effective to reduce levels of anxiety and depression, increase coping, and improve quality of life. Can this reduction in stress lead to improvements in fertility?
Consider the following:
– Studies show that the #1 reason patients drop out of fertility therapy is not because they were discouraged by their physician, but rather because they said they couldn’t handle the stress.
– Research by Alice Domar, PhD, has consistently found that women who dramatically reduce their levels of stress through structured Mind/Body programs appear to have significantly higher rates of IVF success.
– In addition, data have consistently demonstrated that individuals or couples who participate in counseling find it to be of value—and allow them to be more in control of the process rather than the process controlling therm.
At NRM, we have put together the following list of resources we hope will help you optimize your care. We want you to integrate whatever support group, counselor, Mind/Body Program, or book that you feel comfortable pursuing.
Online Mind/Body Program
A 10 week Mind/Body Program modeled after Dr. Alice Domar’s research designed to help individuals and/or couples cope with the physical and emotional impact of infertility by learning specific relaxation strategies and improving lifestyle habits. Explore this excellent app: FertiCalm. You can also check out Alice Domar’s website and online videos here.
- Marlene Maron, PhD. Clinical Psychologist. University of Vermont.
Phone: (802) 847-3634
- Jessica Clifton. Doctoral Candidate in Clinical Psychology. The Clinical Psychology Internship Program. Burlington, Vermont. (802)656-2661
- Kate Stone, PsyD. University of Vermont. Burlington, Vermont. (802) 847-3634
- Susan Donnis, Licensed Psychologist-Masters. Burlington, Vermont. (802) 862-2334
- Judith Gerber, PhD. Clinical Psychologist in Family Medicine, Colchester, Vermont. Phone: (802) 847-2055
- Lindsay Jernigan, PhD. Individual, couples, and sex therapy. Eastern View Integrative Medicine. South Burlington (802) 229-8270
- Gale Golden, Clinical Social Work/Therapist. Burlington, VT (802)378-4282
There are many therapists in this community—it is okay to meet more than one so that you can find one that is right for you!
- Women’s Wellness Series: Yoga for Fertility with Beth Kruger. www.prenatalmethod.com
- Resolve New England: puts together support groups throughout New England. Check their website www.resolvenewengland.org/support for upcoming locations and meeting times near you.
Finding You In Fertility. Francisco Arredondo, 2015.
Conquering Infertility: Dr Alice Domar’s Mind/Body Guide to Enhancing Fertility. Alice Domar, 2004.
Healing Mind, Healthy Woman: Using the Mind-Body Connection to Manage Stress and Take Control of Your Life. Alice Domar, 1997.
If you are looking for humor:
Laughin’fertility: A Bundle of Observations for the Baby-making Challenged. Lisa Safran 2004.