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24 Apr

How Can I Emotionally Handle Infertility?

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This week I will be blogging about a topic that is very near and dear to my heart, infertility. This week, from April 20-27, marks National Infertility Awareness Week.  For those who are officially considered infertile and are going through the roller coaster journey, they are very aware every day that they are facing this experience.  For couples who are beginning to struggle or suspect that they may have difficulty conceiving, this may stir up some hard feelings or questions.  My hope for everyone is that this week can bring to light the resources, education, and support that exist for this journey.  Infertility is defined as not being able to conceive a child after twelve consecutive cycles of regular, unprotected sex.  In the United States between 10% and 15% of the population struggle with infertility and that number is growing.  Infertility, when a specific cause can be found, can be related to factors occurring in both males and females.  In fact, about 30% of couples’ infertility is male-related, 25% is female-related, and 35% is related to both partners having fertility complications.

Now that we have a few of the numbers, let’s talk a little about its emotional impact.  It’s pretty common knowledge that infertility incurs major financial costs with treatments or adoption coming with a price tag of several thousand dollars.  However, the emotional pain experienced by couples facing infertility is equivalent to that experienced by people facing cancer and chronic pain conditions.  It is a roller coaster of anticipation and devastation.  At some points you may have to live as though you have conceived, watching what you eat, drink, or do, only to follow it with the letdown of a negative pregnancy test.  This emotional pain can be difficult for some to handle and can potentially cause trouble in almost all aspects of your life.

You may want to talk to a therapist about fertility if any of the following apply:

  • You feel sad, depressed, worried, or anxious (including panic attacks) most of the time
  • You are having a hard time functioning at work or in everyday life
  • You and your partner aren’t on the same page about how to try to grow a family
  • You avoid events with family and friends  or being out in public because you find it too difficult
  • You are facing egg/sperm donation, surrogacy, and/or adoption
  • You are considering a childfree life


Infertility can be a difficult journey but you do not have to do it alone or without support.  Additionally, you do not have to wait until you feel completely overwhelmed to speak to a therapist about your journey.  A therapist can assist you in processing your feelings regarding infertility and developing healthy coping skills for the experience.  For further information I recommend the American Society of Reproductive Medicine and RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association.