Stress & IVF Treatment
When it comes to stress and infertility there are two potential relations:
1) Stress as a cause for infertility – If we look back to the 1950s infertility was considered to be a result of psychological conflicts in the woman. The psychological problems of patients are often believed to have a negative effect on their fertility. Years later due to the results of empirical research, we had learned that there are a lot of organic factors which lead to infertility, and nowadays, psychological problems are more likely to considered to be an effect of infertility.
2) Stress as an outcome of infertility – Even physically not an invasive treatment, IVF is painful and financially and mentally exhausting. Also, IVF is usually the final treatment option for these couples, which leads to the fear of not completing the most important life goal. Working with clients who face the infertility problem the most common sentence that I hear is „I don’t have control over my life“. One of The most difficult parts of the whole process of coping with this problem is lack of control, which increases the stress level.
Infertility is a low-control stressor What means exactly? Do you have a feeling that you work everything that is in your power but results still are absent?
You lose your weight, don’t smoke anymore, and start walking more and the treatment was unsuccessful again? Unfortunately, the crisis of infertility and IVF treatment are well known as low-control stressors in psychology. It means that sometimes you work everything, but the outcome is not guaranteed. In situations like these you feel like it’s not fair and questions like „Why me?“ start to come to your mind.
How to lower the stress level?
The aforementioned feelings start to be more intense when you continue with these thoughts and questions and stress levels increase. Firstly, don’t forget that stress response is a normal reaction in this situation. When you feel that stress overwhelm you try to do the following:
1) Focus on breathing – Take long, deep, and slow breaths and be aware of your breathing.
2) Focus on your body – Focus on one part of your body or group of muscles and try to release any tension which you feel there. This is a useful technique to be aware of the body-mind connection.
3) Meditation – Focus on your body and be present in the moment. There are a lot of meditation examples on youtube and you could find one with which you feel comfortable.
4) Speak with your partner – One of the most powerful techniques for stress decreasing is sharing – don’t hesitate to speak about thoughts and feelings which bother you. As I mention before, these are the ways you can help yourself when you feel stressed.
Unfortunately, sometimes these techniques are not enough. Sometimes, you feel exhausted or you don’t have energy and you don’t know what to do. I want to say you that it’s normal when you face an infertility crisis. If you feel anxious, stressed and want to talk about your emotions and find a way to feel better during the treatment, don’t hesitate to reach psychological support. In our
IVF center, we recognized the importance of stress in infertility treatment and we offer an opportunity to speak with infertility counselors- psychologists to our patients.