Infertility and you: the psychological impact of infertility

psychological impact of infertility

Infertility may be a physical issue, but its psychological effects can be utterly devastating. Studies carried out over the years have revealed that couples who are unable to conceive a child, are three times more likely to separate. McFly’s star, Harry Judd, has recently opened up about the impact IVF had on his marriage, revealing the psychological impact fertility treatment can have.

There’s no denying infertility places a great deal of stress onto a relationship, but it can also cause a lot of other emotional problems which many coupes do struggle with. Here, we’ll look at the full psychological impact of infertility on couples.

Many fertility patients experience shame and anger

Shame and anger are two very common emotional reactions to infertility. Men in particular may want to keep their fertility problems private, preferring it if nobody found out. Many feel like a less of a man if they are unable to father a child. Even if the fertility issues aren’t male-related, they can still feel helpless and angry at how unfair the situation is.

Women can also feel shame and anger if the issues are caused because of problems within the womb. Pregnancy is thought of as such a natural thing, that for many patients it can feel as though their body is really letting them down.

There is a tendency for couples to want to keep infertility issues to themselves due to shame. They feel alienated because they can’t have children and feel their friends and family wouldn’t understand; especially if they have children themselves.

The emotional toll of fertility treatments

There’s a number of reasons fertility treatments can take a significant emotional toll on a relationship. The treatments themselves can sometimes be difficult, while the waiting times can cause a high level of anxiety. Then there’s the financial pressure placed upon the couple. Fertility treatments, particularly IVF, are notoriously expensive.

So, when you combine the financial pressures onto the anxiety and stress felt throughout the treatment, it’s easy to see why it can prove too much for couples. This is especially the case if the treatments fail.

Within the relationship, one or both partners may withdraw from one another. Arguments can become a lot more frequent and male partners may feel particularly helpless and like they’re failing their spouse. Another issue infertility can also cause is a negative impact on a couple’s sex life. It becomes more about trying to conceive than a pleasurable act. The fear, stress and anxiety can also cause the sex drive to plummet. Issues with sex further contribute to damage the relationship and can eventually lead to separation.

Potential positive psychological effects

While infertility does have the potential to cause significant psychological damage within a relationship, it can also have the opposite effect. Many couples report that issues with fertility actually made them stronger.

Studies carried out over the years have revealed that the majority of couples do stay together after infertility treatment. Those who do separate have stated the infertility issues were not the major factor behind the breakup.

Overall, the psychological impact of infertility can be devastating. Those who do struggle are encouraged to seek professional help. It is also important for couples to recognise when there is a problem and seek advice as soon as possible to prevent it causing significant damage within the relationship.