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How does stress affect fertility and your mental heath?

"I'm sorry it did not stick."

"Looks like your results came out negative."

"I'm afraid you might not ever be able to conceive naturally."

Mini horror stories like these keep so many of us awake at night. You quietly put your notifications on mute as consolation messages from friends and family start pouring in; whether you've faced this situation for the first time or you've low-key become a pro at repeatedly facing negative results, infertility is a scathing reality for many of us.

What most don't realize though is that its implications extend far beyond the crushing reality of not being able to procreate.

Your relationship

Infertility can very easily seep into the foundations of your relationship and threaten to jolt it. The frustration of trying to figure out the best time for "trying", keeping a track of ovulation and a million other variables at all times, most of which are not even in our control, might make you feel powerless as a couple and is very likely to upset your sexual life as intercourse becomes solely about conceiving.

In addition to rattling your sex life, infertility can wreak havoc on your relationship dynamics in general. The agony of unsuccessful attempts might take a toll on both the partners which can often result in undue bitterness and resentment, as they both try to cope with their circumstances along with keeping stability in their relationship,

Firstly, It's important to acknowledge that your relationship might get strained because of your infertility troubles and that's its only normal for people to react negatively to failure. This is where you would both need to proactively step up and take charge of your emotional health as well as your relationship's. Pushing it under the carpet or pretending that it's a non-issue will never help. Just because conceiving is your priority right now does not mean your relationship gets to be put on the back burner.


Hard as it might seem, try to rekindle your romance and your love for each other. Since fertility treatments normally entail countless appointments and doctor visits, try and keep your relationship on schedule, as well. Take time out to catch a quick lunch date and steer clear of the baby-making talk as much as possible. You don't always have to talk about planning a baby, try to explore other topics as you normally would and have a productive dialogue with each other to take your mind off things.

However if your relationship has suffered more damage, don't hesitate to seek professional help. Marriage counseling has the potential to work wonders for troubled relationships and while it might not bring the magic back after one session, it can definitely help both partners empathize better with each other and journey towards recovery.

Money Matters

Fertility treatments are costly and mostly not covered by insurance. The laws differ from state to state and there is no binding federal mandate for end-to-end infertility treatment coverage. This is in part due to the fact that infertility is still considered to be a rich person's problem in most circles. Until it is recognized as a basic health issue affecting nearly 12% of the American population, it would still be commonly considered as an elective procedure. As unfair as it might sound this sore reality is a huge reason why a lot of couples are not able to follow through with their treatment, getting bogged down by massive bills.

Arguably, the coverage options for infertility care are extremely varied and many employers do offer some level of coverage, be it for an entire IVF cycle or just the preliminary diagnostic check-ups however, your best option is to discuss it in detail with your employer to understand to what extent are you covered, if at all.

There's also many fertility institutes and third party reproduction facilities that provide grants and financial assistance to qualifying families and individuals. So before distressing yourself over the costs of infertility treatments, it's a good idea to research into clinics and fertility institutes of your choice and inquire about their financial aid programs.

Finding comfort in community

"It's just going to be okay.."

" Don't overthink it, it will happen when the time is right.."

Your friends and family can offer you only so much support for a problem they might not have sufficient familiarity with. Listening to repeated consolations about how not to over-stress yourself might seem frustrating and hollow at times. Luckily, there's plenty of TTC support groups and forums you can find yourself comfortable with. Conversation is key to expressing your emotions and you might find solace in getting to know people with similar experiences and sharing your thoughts with them.

Talking to people who have been through the same challenges or who are currently experiencing infertility can also help you inform yourself of different perspectives and at times valuable information that you would otherwise not have access to.

Find Distractions

It might seem impossible to think of anything else when you're desperately trying to have a child however don't get caught in a vicious cycle and tough as it might seem, you should try and distract yourself whenever and however you can, be it work, picking up a new hobby or giving time to your relationship.

If you're taking a break from work to focus on your TTC journey, find small time-outs to give yourself a break. Volunteer for a cause you strongly believe in, pick up a past-time you never found the time to invest in or just take up a personal project and work towards it, deadlines and milestones all included.

Infertility is not an easy route and at times it might seem like a struggle with no end in sight. Although the journey is different for everyone, yet the emotional turmoil it entails is almost the same for all. It's important to realize that your mental health is of utmost importance if you want to survive it bravely and addressing your mind and body's signals should never be neglected. Give yourself time and find ways to heal through it instead of letting yourself get consumed by it.


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