There is no doubt that trying to get pregnant, going through fertility treatments and tests, or finding out that you are infertile are all very stressful things to deal with in life. You may also see scaremongering headlines in the newspaper telling you that your stress is the reason that you can’t get pregnant, which will only add to your stress as you try not to be stressed. The whole topic is very stressful and will cause you a lot of worries. However, if you can calm yourself down to read about it, then there is some interesting information that might be able to help you.
It is not yet fully understood what impact stress has on fertility, and simply being told to relax isn’t going to fix the problem, but at the same time, it doesn’t mean that stress is harmless.
Stress can be very difficult to study and to measure. For example, to begin with, there are many different types of stress. You could be dealing with childhood stress which is still affecting your adult life, short-term everyday stress such as your car breaking down; long-term stress or a series of stressful events such as having a stressful time at work at the same time as your parent being in the hospital and a huge credit card bill. Then there is “Good” stress, which could be your demanding job which you enjoy and thrive off. There could be big life events such as going through a divorce or experiencing job loss, or you could be living under stressful conditions such as living in poverty or lacking regular employment. So once you have worked out the type of stress you’re dealing with, then you would have to measure this to determine if it was affecting your fertility or fertility treatments – and that’s not easy.
Studies have been done which suggest that stress does have a negative impact on fertility, but then there are also studies that report the exact opposite. Both can be the truth, stress could extend the time it takes for you to get pregnant, but that extended time is only likely to be a period of weeks or months, which is not enough to cause infertility. But then studies have also found that IVF success, does not seem to be associated with stress because of how stressful the IVF process can be and how emotionally distressing the experience of infertility is.
Whether or not stress decreases fertility, it is still important that you care about your stress levels and look after yourself. If you find this difficult, then have a look and try some different methods which can help you to relax, such as meditation, yoga, doing things that you enjoy, mindfulness, and generally making time for yourself. Stress doesn’t feel good, so do try to keep your stress levels as low as possible, because fertility treatments are stressful enough already.
There is no doubt that infertility causes stress, but whether or not stress can cause infertility is still yet to be determined. It’s important to know though that because the whole issue is stressful anyway, you are allowed to be stressed out by it, and it won’t make you infertile. Stress may increase the time it takes to get pregnant; stress alone can’t cause infertility. Search for fertility clinics in the UK if this is something you are concerned about.