Bhave Institute of Mental Health

Bhave Institute of Mental Health


With changing lifestyle and priorities, we are seeing a sharp rise in infertility. Technically, infertility is
diagnosed when a couple has been trying to conceive for a year but is unable to. There could be
several medical reasons behind it but one thing remains common for those suffering from it- stress.
In fact, research suggests that infertility can cause as much stress as a diagnosis of AIDS, cancer or
heart disease.
Not just the condition, but several associated factors can lead to increased stress in the couple.
– Personal
o Feelings of inadequacy, emptiness or guilt
o Resentment between couples, they might end up blaming the other
o Loss of intimacy in sexual encounters; intercourse becomes by the clock and very
mechanical. Couples might develop a negative attitude towards sex
o Fear of the ticking ‘biological clock’
– Social
o In Indian community, the pressure to bear a child starts almost immediately after
marriage. People can be very blunt about questioning about the same.
o Stigma associated with infertility. Many people view it as a ‘fault’ and judge the
couple involved.
o Blame on the female is very common. In many cases the husbands don’t even get
tested to check for male factor infertility. The onus of fertility is expected to be on
the woman.
o Lack of emotional support. Since the condition is not very well understood, the
couple often has to face blame or do not get the emotional support they need.
o Facing comparison to peers with kids. Other people or the couple themselves many
a times compare self with other couples their age who have children. Being in
presence of pregnant people or young children can be an emotionally painful
experience. It serves to remind them what is missing in their life.

– Treatment related
o Financial aspect- infertility treatment is not affordable for many and is also one of
the top reasons couples drop out of treatment.
o Failed trials- every failed trial brings with it a cycle of disappointment, low self
esteem and hopelessness. There’s no way to expedite the process as it is necessary
to follow the pattern of monthly cycles, so the wait between two cycles has to be
one or even 2-3 months at times.
o Treatment side effects can also include symptoms of depression or anxiety as most
of the treatment includes hormones.

Some ways to tackle the stress generated by infertility
– Acknowledge and accept your feelings. Its perfectly alright to feel sad or angry or
disappointed without having to be embarrassed about these emotions.
– Its vital to view this condition as a ‘couple’ problem rather than problem with the wife or
husband. This can prevent resentment or blame game.
– Re-establish the lost intimacy between you and your spouse.
– Establish an emotional support system.

– Its important to keep yourself busy, to stick to a routine
– Limit the time spent discussing infertility and treatment aspects with your spouse. Don’t
allow it to overtake your life completely.

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