Fertility care is often not just about the physical element. Infertility and fertility treatment can significantly impact the mental health of the individuals in question. It is a very stressful journey. This is perhaps why infertility treatment should involve a good deal of mental health support along with medical aspects.
For prospective parents, infertility can take up their whole life, especially if they face setbacks and treatment. There are many difficult decisions, questions to answer, and disappointments to deal with.
All this can certainly take a toll on the mental health of aspiring parents. Mental well-being is as important as physical health when it comes to pregnancy. This makes fertility counseling an important part of infertility treatment.
At RHWC, we always include mental health support services as a part of the treatment plan for infertility. We have experts on board who can help couples navigate the choppy waters and have a healthy mind as well as a healthy body while they prepare themselves for pregnancy. This blog will look at why it is important and how we do this. Read on!
Why is Infertility Counseling Important?
The stress due to infertility is real! Infertility affects about 8-12% of couples worldwide. This is a problem that is far too common and the stresses it creates in the life of the partners have a huge impact too. It is often the case that the partners would be trying to get pregnant for a year or even more in some cases. The growing fear that they may not have children naturally can cause anxiety in most couples.
Psychological stress can have a negative impact on fertility too. It is a vicious cycle, especially in the case of women. Extended periods of stress lead to the release of the stress hormone cortisol which can affect the ovulation cycles in women leading to reduced fertility.
Infertility is a difficult subject to discuss and it can cause issues between the partners. There can be a lot of tension between partners when there are no results even after prolonged periods of trying. There is also the additional pressure that comes from society, family, and friends.
Generally, the partners tend to keep the subject of infertility to themselves as it can make them feel inferior. Studies show that intended parents struggling with fertility issues are prone to higher levels of anxiety and depression.
For LGBTQ Couples
For LGBTQ couples, the story is a bit different yet the issues they face are similar. From the time they decide to have a child, there are important decisions to make. Are they going for gestational surrogacy or adoption? How do you find the right gestational carrier for them? Who will be the sperm donor or the egg donor?
These questions can affect their mental health and cause a lot of stress during the process. Help from mental health professionals is needed in these cases too so that these couples can go through the process of surrogacy with as minimal stress as possible and help them prepare for welcoming a child into their life.
The diagnosis of infertility is just the first step. The medical treatment for infertility is a stressful process too. Undergoing numerous tests to find the underlying medical conditions and taking medication to treat these conditions can be a stressful affair. Patients often need (couples) counseling to help them go through this phase.
Some of the medications used for infertility treatment have side effects that can cause mental health issues in men and women. Some medicines are shown to cause mood swings, irritability, anxiety, and depression in men and women. Understanding these side effects through effective coping mechanisms is important.
Assisted reproductive technology can be quite a helpful tool. Options like In-vitro fertilization (IVF) can help people with infertility conceive. However, it is the case that you may need multiple attempts before a successful pregnancy. Each unsuccessful attempt can cause mental stress in the partners. Even after successful conception, there is a risk of pregnancy loss and other complications. Factors like stress actually affect the success of procedures such as IVF too.
Finally, there’s also the matter of finances. Fertility treatments can place a burden on the finances of the partners and this can be a source of added stress along with medical reasons.
The impact of infertility is thus not just restricted to stress and worries. There are tangible psychological factors that can cause real issues in people’s lives especially when they are constantly reminded by family, other couples, friends, and colleagues when they are struggling with these issues.
You also have to consider the fact that a child needs a healthy home for proper healthy development. Pregnancy is also the time for intended parents to be ready mentally to support a child. Psychotherapy and the help of a fertility counselor are helpfu for people to get through infertility treatment and to have a healthy pregnancy.
How does RHWC Help Patients Undergoing Infertility Treatment?
At RHWC, our treatment options are holistic as we understand the need for not just physical well-being. Spiritual wellness, nutrition, and mental health are all important factors in treating infertility and we include these in our treatment plans. Here are some of the common ways in which partners can deal with the stress of infertility.
Fertility counseling is important to deal with the stress of infertility. Some patients need the help of a qualified mental health expert who can handhold you through the process and help you make the tough decisions. We offer fertility therapy for both individual partners and couples who are undergoing treatment.
Support groups and group counseling can also be effective tools where you get to meet and interact with other couples who are going through the same issues. With the help of a marriage and family therapist or a licensed fertility counselor, you can talk through some of the major issues and develop coping mechanisms to deal with the various stresses that come as a part of the treatment.
Nutrition plays a critical role in maintaining fertility and physical health. But good nutrition also plays a role in managing stress and mental health issues. Eating a balanced meal with enough nutrients can help you keep your stress levels under control. With the help of a nutritionist, we help patients understand what the best diet plans for them are and how to follow these plans for both physical and mental well-being.
Dealing with the anxiety, frustration, and loneliness of the stressful infertility treatment process is quite challenging. Spirituality can help a lot in this journey in firming up their beliefs and overall well-being. At RHWC, we get our spiritual counselors to help patients who are undergoing treatment understand how spirituality plays a role in everyday life.
Yoga and Physical Exercise
Yoga and other forms of physical exercise help in both physical and mental wellness. Different studies show that even 30 minutes of physical exercise a day can help you reduce stress and relieves symptoms of anxiety and depression. Getting this exercise is also important for your fertility. Light exercises such as some forms of yoga have specific postures or asanas that help you reduce stress and regulate hormone production in your body. At RHWC, we support our patients doing yoga as well.
Getting over infertility is not just about physical wellness. Psychological wellness plays a huge part too. The family-building process can benefit from good mental health care as well along with the treatment that fertility centers usually offer. A holistic approach will often bear the best results for any couple looking for fertility treatment.
Selecting the fertility clinic for your treatment is the most important decision you have to make. Ensuring that the service provider also focuses on mental well-being is an important criterion when you are making a choice.
At RHWC, we focus a lot on these aspects such as spiritual and mental wellness along with fertility medicine. We have helped hundreds of couples start the family of their dreams and live happy fulfilling lives through our holistic approach. Schedule a consultation today!