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Fertility problems & emotions

Worry, sadness, distress, anger are common feelings experienced by women who are having fertility problems.

Having fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF) can further add to emotional distress. Talking to a doctor, counsellor or psychologist can be helpful in coping with these emotions and deciding what to do next.

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Reactions to fertility problems

Problems with fertility can cause a mixture of many feelings. You may feel:

  • worried
  • pressured
  • confused
  • upset
  • angry
  • stressed
  • sad
  • depressed
  • grief

When investigating why a woman is not getting pregnant, a diagnosis of a condition such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis or premature menopause may be made. So your distress about the time it is taking to get pregnant may be made worse by the stress and shock of a diagnosis, or lack of finding a cause.

Some women who have been diagnosed with a condition, feel pressured to have children as soon as possible. This situation can be overwhelming and upsetting for women who:

  • don't feel ready to have children
  • do not have a partner
  • have not been in their relationship long
  • are with a partner who is unwilling or not ready to have children

Other women may be ready to have children and are trying to conceive and they experience feelings of frustration, hopelessness and depression if a pregnancy does not occur as soon as they hoped or naturally.

Talking to a doctor, counsellor or psychologist can be helpful in coping with these emotions and deciding what to do next.

Fertility treatments & your emotions

Embarking on fertility treatment can lead to a range of different emotions including happiness and excitement, but also frustration, disappointment and sadness.

For women who decide to try fertility treatment it is important both you and your partner are supported through the process. Most IVF units have counsellors who will support and counsel you through the assessment and treatment time.

Seeking fertility counselling (preferably before beginning treatment) can help you to:

  • prepare for the emotional journey ahead
  • cope with any unsuccessful treatments or problems experienced
  • develop strategies for coping with other people's pregnancies/births

Talk through how both you and your partner are feeling throughout the process.

This web page is designed to be informative and educational. It is not intended to provide specific medical advice or replace advice from your health practitioner. The information above is based on current medical knowledge, evidence and practice as at March 2014.

Last updated: 10 December 2019 | Last reviewed: 01 March 2014

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