Finally: Proof that Stress Does Not Cause Infertility
I literally could feel myself coiling up inside as I saw that there was an article in the newspaper today on stress and infertility, but I can release my breath because instead of one more article telling infertility women they should “just relax” or not sabotage their fertility with worry, there is actual scientific proof that not only does stress not cause infertility, but infertility causes stress. Chicken — meet egg. That’s where you came from.
Women who are stressed and anxious before in vitro fertilization (IVF) are no less likely to have a baby, new research suggests. But if the treatment fails, it may take a toll on their mental health.
In two separate studies in the journal Fertility and Sterility, researchers found women with anxiety or depression symptoms were just as likely as others to become pregnant.
I never experienced depression before or since infertility, but those years of trying to conceive the twins were the darkest moments I’ve ever experienced. The self-hate, the suffocating sadness, the bleakness, the desire to be anyone but myself. Everything I missed out on in other facets of life during those years because I was immobilized by infertility, by failed treatments or loss. It was like trying to breathe underwater; impossible, and in its impossibility, it became life-threatening because no oxygen was coming in, no carbon dioxide was going out.
I am trying not to cry in this Starbucks.
I’ve always known what I went through emotionally, knew it was real and valid. But there is something about reading it in black and white on the screen, in major newspapers across the country, that makes me feel like someone outside the experience might one day understand too.
And thank you, Lauri A. Pasch, for this:
And although women with a failed try at IVF were at higher risk, even women who became pregnant had substantial rates of depression and anxiety, Pasch’s team found.
During pregnancy, 30 percent of those women had depression in the “clinical range,” while half had clinical-level anxiety. Those rates were close to what they were before IVF.
According to Pasch, infertility practices should do more to help women with mental health symptoms – though not because it would be expected to improve their odds of IVF success.
You just changed a lot of women’s lives with this; at least, how we feel about ourselves and the way we cope.