Infertility Impacts Mental Health: Expert Highlights The Need To Focus More On Mental Health Of Infertile Women

Infertility Impacts Mental Health: Expert Highlights The Need To Focus More On Mental Health Of Infertile Women

Prevalence of infertility is increasing worldwide. According to WHO estimates, about 48 million couples live with this problem globally.

Written by Longjam Dineshwori |Updated : November 18, 2022 11:39 AM IST

Millions of couples struggle with infertility, which has a serious negative impact on their mental health. Some women and couples may have this anticipation, dream, or goal towards having children, and they may feel cheated of it if they can't get pregnant.

According to studies, infertile couples go through a lot of worries and emotional pain. Women and couples may feel intense sadness and loss when a round of reproductive treatments is unsuccessful, for example. In fact, among 200 couples who attended a reproductive clinic, research indicated that 15 per cent of men and 50 per cent of women cited infertility as their most unpleasant life event.

Dr Nisha Pansare, Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF Fertility, says, "Not just infertility, but the hormone medication some women require to manage the illness can have an adverse effect on their mental health. Your mood will be affected by the hormones you are given, although not everyone will experience the same effects. Among other symptoms, these consequences may include insomnia, changes in sexual desire, heat flushes, depression, or worry."

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Infertility Impacts Couple's Relationship Too

In an exclusive chat with the HealthSite, Dr Nisha explains, "Infertility is the inability to become pregnant after a year of trying. The significant disease of infertility not only has an impact on a woman's physical health but also on her mental health. Worldwide, female infertility is increasing quickly. It ranks as the seventh most severe kind of disability worldwide. The failure of the woman to conceive causes a variety of psychological issues, including despair, rage, melancholy, anxiety, loss of social standing, low self-esteem, and a poor quality of life."

She adds, "A person's sexual self-esteem, desire, and performance can all be impacted by infertility. Sex is a common means of emotional connection in relationships. Couples may lose this emotional bond if sex starts to be connected with failure and dissatisfaction. Treatments for infertility can cause pressure to perform or to have (or refrain from having) sex, which can alienate partners and break up partnerships. Sex becomes less spontaneous as a result of fertility treatments because it is more concerned with reproduction than with fun. Spontaneity and emotional connection may become more difficult as fertility treatments progress."

Focus on the mental health of infertile women

Dr Nisha points out that infertility is seen by women as the most distressing and terrible time of their lives. Patients who are receiving treatment for infertility may feel as though they are carrying a heavy burden, with pain, suffering, financial struggle, and low social status being the main side effects. These psychological symptoms may negatively impact fertility potential, treatment tolerance, and pregnancy outcomes.

'The likelihood of conception may increase with reduced psychological distress. As a result, psychologists need to focus more on the mental health of infertile women," she concludes.

Causes of infertility

As per WHO, infertility in men is most commonly linked to dysfunctionalities in the ejection of semen, testicular failure to produce sperm, or abnormal shape and movement of the sperm. In women, infertility may be caused tubal disorders (blocked fallopian tubes), or disorders of the ovaries (polycystic ovarian syndrome), uterus ( endometriosis, septate uterus, fibroids) and the endocrine system (pituitary cancers, hypopituitarism).