Coping with Infertility
Infertility is usually one of the most stressful experiences a couple can go through. The way patients cope with this roller coaster of emotions depends very much on their personality and their diagnosis, since every person is different and every infertility issue is unique. Coping with infertility requires patients to find the strength within themselves and within their relationship to get through this difficult period. It also involves asking for help when they need it and learning as much as they can about their condition, their treatment options and the resources available.
Although there is not specific evidence that stress is detrimental, it can make it harder for couples to persist with treatments that will ultimately help them. Stress can cause patients to make poor choices about their treatment, cause delays in seeking treatment, and decrease compliance with treatment programs. When couples with infertility undergo mind-body training to reduce stress, they appear to have better outcomes.
Potential stress triggers
- Patients and their partners should work together to identify potential stress triggers. Identifying these triggers can help them develop ways to avoid or cope with stress. Potential triggers include:
- Scheduled intercourse instead of spontaneous lovemaking
- Baby showers or birthday parties for young children
- Medical appointments that interfere with work or other scheduled activities
- Maintaining the positive aspects of their relationship while going through invasive treatment
Positive ways to manage stress
Identifying ways to cope with stress may help patients feel more in control of their life and allow them to make better decisions about their fertility treatment plan. To help break the cycle of stress and sadness, patients can try one or more of these approaches:
- Find a support group in the local community
- Log on to an online discussion group
- Learn about infertility and the most current treatment options
- Seek professional counseling
- Investigate complementary therapies
- Take time to do something special for themselves
- Keep a journal
- Take a brief “vacation” from fertility treatment when it is appropriate
- Try to maintain good eating habits
- Get regular exercise
- Reconnect with his/her partner
Handling the holidays during fertility treatment
Infertility may be particularly challenging during the holiday season. If patients are undergoing treatment during the holidays, they may want to anticipate potentially stressful or emotionally difficult situations, especially those involving family, friends, and/or children. It is important that patients discuss beforehand how to handle these potentially stressful situations. The goal in planning how to respond to these inquiries is to ensure that neither partner feels compelled to reveal information that they are not comfortable sharing. Additionally, some couples may decide to take a break from fertility treatments during the holidays.
Janice Pimentel PhD available for consultation
We are pleased to offer the services of Clinical Psychologist, Janice Pimentel. Dr. Pimentel is available to consult with our patients regarding all of their infertility concerns. To make an appointment, please call the main office in Jacksonville, 904-399-5620 or 800-556-5620.