Coping with a diagnosis of infertility can take an emotional toll. Research even indicates that the stress of infertility is similar to that of individuals dealing with chronic illnesses. You might feel pressure from yourself as well as external forces. While your friends and family likely have good intentions, you may still feel as though you’re struggling.
In this article, we’ll examine the emotional impact of infertility and various coping mechanisms to help you with the difficult road ahead. There is hope, and there is help.
How Common Is Infertility?
You aren’t alone. Many individuals and couples struggle with infertility and the emotional impact. Yet, how common is infertility, really?
The Government of Canada estimates that approximately 16% of couples experience infertility. This means that 1 in 6 couples will have difficulty conceiving and maintaining a pregnancy. In the United States, around 9% of men and 11% of women of reproductive age also face fertility problems. In fact, worldwide, about 1 in 4 couples struggle with infertility.
Surprisingly, since the 1980s, these infertility statistics have doubled. At the same time, it’s important to note the role that maternal age plays here. Roughly 91% of women aged 30 are able to get pregnant. At 35, this drops to 77%, and by 40, this goes down to 53%. This means that the older the future mother is, the more difficult it will be to become pregnant. However, it doesn’t mean that it is impossible.
Emotional Impacts of Infertility
Infertility can leave you feeling a multitude of emotions — at any stage in the game. This is completely normal and okay. However, you will want to ensure you get the right support to move through this process toward achieving your baby dreams. In the following sections, we’ll take a closer look at infertility grief, infertility depression, and processing your feelings.
Grief is non-linear. You may feel down one day and alright the next. It can also catch you off guard. During the fertility process, it may feel as though you’re experiencing more losses than wins. These are completely natural feelings to have. Allow yourself to feel these emotions. If you need to, talk to a professional so they can offer strategies to help you cope.
For individuals and couples struggling with infertility, depression is all too real. You may begin to feel hopeless combined with persistent feelings of sadness. It’s important to recognize these signs and seek out help when you need it.
Acknowledge Your Feelings and Don’t Blame Yourself
It’s really easy to blame yourself and feel ashamed. However, this doesn’t help you or anyone else. Instead, acknowledge how you feel and avoid blaming yourself. Infertility happens to many individuals and couples. It’s not your fault.
Support for Infertility
Seeking out support for your fertility journey is one of the best things you can do. At the same time, it’s also important for you and your partner (if applicable) to remain as open as possible with one another throughout this time. There are also many support options available, including online fertility support groups and counseling. We’ll take a closer look at these options below.
Open Communication and Support from Your Partner
Both you and your partner may be struggling to cope. It’s okay if you both have different reactions and it’s important to accept this. Be as open as you can with one another. Let each other know what you need or how you can help the other person during this time.
At the same time, you may have difficulty leaning on each other. This is where turning to loved ones, support groups, or counseling can be beneficial.
Support From Loved Ones
Turning to friends and family can offer a safe place for you to express your feelings and seek out comfort. Maybe you even know someone who has been through their own infertility journey. Talking with these individuals may help you better navigate this difficult time.
Infertility Support Groups
There are many individuals and couples going through similar emotions. Joining an infertility support group in your area (or online) can help you feel less alone and relate to others that are in very similar situations.
Support for infertility may also come in the form of fertility counseling. Talking one-on-one with a trained therapist can help you find strategies to cope.
With today’s technology and innovative medicine, there are a few options you can choose from to address infertility, including In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), egg donation, and surrogacy. Below, we dive into just a couple of the possibilities, but there are many treatment paths depending on your medical history, current circumstances, and vision for your family.
IVF combines the egg and the sperm outside of the body. The embryo is then transferred to the uterus, with the hope that pregnancy will take place. This process involves careful monitoring, as well as stimulation of ovulation. Typically, more than one IVF cycle is required for a successful pregnancy to take place.
IVF is frequently recommended to those under 40 who have been trying to conceive through unprotected intercourse for over a year. Yet, IVF may not be suitable for everyone, such as individuals with ovarian dysfunction or uterine abnormalities. In these cases, a gestational surrogate may be more appropriate.
Egg donation is when another woman, who is known as the donor, donates eggs to the woman, known as the recipient, who is striving to get pregnant but has been unable to due to fertility issues, such as poor egg quality.
The process for egg donation is similar to IVF, leading up to the egg retrieval phase. Similar to IVF, this entire process is also carefully monitored to ensure success. The donated egg is combined with the man’s sperm, creating an embryo, which is then implanted in the recipient.
If you or your partner are unable to carry a child to full-term, gestational surrogacy might be a viable option. In this case, a female with no genetic link to the child, carries the pregnancy for the couple or individual. After birth, the baby’s intended parents legally become the parents. Further, there are various agreements signed throughout this process to protect the rights of all parties involved.
If you’re looking for fertility solutions, contact ELITE IVF today. Our compassionate and caring team can review all the available options and help you choose the one that is best for you and your family. ELITE IVF offers every conceivable fertility solution that is available today, from conventional IVF, to egg donation, surrogacy and more.