Infertility is a common problem. In the U.S, around 6% of married women aged between 15 and 44 years fail to achieve pregnancy after one year and about 12% of that age group, regardless of marital status, have impaired fecundity – the ability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term. Around 5% of couples in developed countries experience primary infertility, which describes an inability to conceive in the first place, or secondary fertility, which refers to when a woman has given birth previously but is currently unable to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term.
Various treatments are available to help infertile couples, ranging from medications that regulate ovulation through to surgical procedures to treat endometriosis, for example, and assisted conception, which may be intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Some women or couples can feel depressed or anxious as a result of infertility. Common emotional reactions to infertility can be shock, depression, grief, frustration, decreased confidence, low self-esteem and loss of a sense of control over the future. This can have detrimental effects on relationships, not only with a partner, but with friends and family who may inadvertently cause distress by offering opinions and advice. A couple may begin to avoid interaction with friends or family who have children or are pregnant. They may also experience sexual dysfunction as a result of anxiety and other marital problems. If you begin to experience these emotional reactions, please contact Donna Schwartz, LICSW at 202-728-9550 or [email protected] to get support and guidance.