The Impact of Infertility Stress on Couples’ Mental Health

The reality 

The reality is that undergoing infertility treatment is one of the toughest things a couple can go through. The pressure, uncertainty, emotional strain, and high financial cost are akin to the most serious medical issues. Yet, unlike other serious health issues, most couples face this experience in isolation and without support. And while that may be okay at the beginning, it’s not a sustainable journey. And by the way – it doesn’t matter what kind of infertility treatment you are undergoing. Couples experience the same challenges. 

What you can do 

If this resonates with you or someone you know, here are some things that you can do: 

  1. Recognise that infertility treatment always comes with an emotional cost. It is the norm – not the exception. 
  2. Understand that the vast majority of couples experience tension, and this ranges from mild irritability to difficult and unresolved conflict. Again – this is the norm and not the exception. Put aside the guilt and belief that you are alone and less-than because you and your partner experience conflict because it is much more common than you think. 
  3. Be intentional about managing the stress and relationship strain that inevitably accompany infertility treatment. It isn’t business as usual in your relationship. It will take more time and effort.  
Some ideas for taking care of your relationship are: 
  1. Take time for a date night 
  2. Be extra-patient and extra-kind with each other 
  3. When you start to get irritable with each other, hug. Physical touch does wonders for defusing high emotions and reconnecting emotionally 
  4. Remind each other how tough this experience is – and how you’ll walk through it together 

I truly hope that this article has been valuable for you and that you realize that you are not alone. 

Dr. Dawn Kingston, Canada’s leading expert on perinatal mental health and for over ten years has been at the forefront of research on how to prevent postpartum depression. Her team has developed the HOPE App which is designed to significantly reduce prenatal anxiety and depression and directly support expectant mothers. They are studying it in a massive implementation study, one of the most ambitious projects of this type ever! 

Follow Dr Dawn Kingston on: 
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Join the Conversation


  1. says: Dagmar Ganser

    The stress of IVF is definitely not discussed, nor addressed, enough. However, it may be avoided or reduced by ensuring couples prepare for their pregnancy journey. Preparation should be carried out under the supervision of a qualified health professional, including Naturopaths who have a wide range of expertise in this field. Preparing the body well prior to conception involves ensuring both partners are in optimal health, do not carry any residual viruses or heavy metal toxicity, understand the importance of good nutrition and lifestyle choices, and the impact these have on their fertility, pregnancy but also on the health of their future baby.

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