Stress and Infertility

There is no doubt that infertility is a very stressful situation to be in and to handle. Couples with infertility are faced with different degrees of stress depending on various variables. While it is known that coping with infertility can be very stressful, the big question is “can stress cause infertility?”

The answer is “Yes”. Stress can cause infertility through mainly the prevention of ovulation. Stress causes the releases of some hormones called “stress hormones”. The hormones are adrenaline, catecholamines, cortisol. These hormones inhibit the release of gonadotropin releasing hormone, and thus follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone leading to the absence of ovulation. The stress hormone also stimulates the production of Prolactin, which inhibits ovulation. There is also reduced sperm count and low libido in men and women.

If stress can cause infertility and infertility is a stressful condition, we are therefore looking at a vicious cycle which if not broken, can have detrimental effects.

Stress can also affect the success of an IVF program. It is therefore very important that the stress level of a patient undergoing fertility treatment or trying to achieve pregnancy is reduced as much as possible.

At JAFC, we employ various stress reducing techniques to ensure stress is adequately controlled. From having the full support of one’s spouse to developing new attitudes to reacting to stressful situations. Use of psychotherapy or other behavioural methods may help.