How Stress Can Affect Fertility

Many factors can affect your fertility including genetics, your age, your weight, various lifestyle choices, and others. But there’s another, often hidden factor you may not have considered: stress.

Stress is unique because it’s so hard to control and it affects everyone differently. Yet avoiding stress is virtually impossible for anyone, particularly women actively trying to conceive, which can be stressful enough by itself. Plus, research has linked high stress levels with irregular menstrual cycles, which then makes conception more difficult, leading to a frustrating and demoralizing cycle that leads to yet more stress.

Further, according to new research from the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences, women who feel high stress during ovulation may by 40% less likely to get pregnant that month. That’s significant! While it’s important to note that the connection between stress and conception doesn’t definitively prove cause and effect, there is ample evidence to show stress does play a role in a woman’s ability to conceive.

This is particularly the case with women using donor insemination to conceive partly because of the inherent uncertainty. For example, it’s impossible to predict how many vials of donor sperm will be necessary to conceive, or how long it will take.

Then there is the emotional side of using a sperm donor to conceive. While donor insemination is an effective and affordable option for having a child, it may also bring up complicated emotional issues including dealing with the possible disappointment of not being able to conceive on your own. This introduces a level of stress that must be acknowledged in order to be dealt with in a healthy way.

Tips for Managing Stress When Trying to Conceive

Though stress is unavoidable part of life, there are specific things you can do to reduce it, especially during ovulation. Consider praying or meditating daily, doing deep breathing exercises, listening to soothing music, getting regular exercise at least three times a week, going outside for a walk or hike in nature, spending time with loved ones, or any activity that calms or relaxes you. You might also consider talking with a therapist to help you cope with infertility issues.

Of course, stress isn’t the only factor affecting fertility, so read some other tips on how you can help increase fertility.

There’s no doubt reducing or controlling stress is difficult. But being more aware of the causes of stress may help you better manage it and hopefully lead to faster and easier conception. If you have questions about things you can do to increase fertility, please call our clinic at (206) 588-1484.

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