Dr. Mark Rispler recognizes that the connection between stress and infertility in itself can cause stress. Contradictory research findings, misguided advice from friends and family and Internet search results can contribute to feelings of frustration.
Does Stress Cause Infertility?
Dr. Rispler, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and most fertility specialists agree that stress, in and of itself, does not cause infertility. Managing stress, however, contributes to overall wellness and successful treatment cycles.
Clearly, infertility and infertility treatment exacerbates stress. An often-quoted study likens stress levels of couples undergoing infertility treatment to those reported by cancer or heart disease patients. Dr. Mark Rispler emphasizes that the financial, emotional and physical implications of infertility–coupled with an overall loss of control–cannot be discounted.
Innovative Fertility Center proactively provides patients with resources to reduce stress, improve coping skills and enhance overall wellness.
Effects of Stress on the Reproductive System
Chronic stress can interrupt ovulation, sperm production and cause hormonal imbalances.
- The brain produces gonadotropin-releasing hormones (GnRH). Stress hormones (cortisol) can interfere at the earliest stage of reproduction—the release of gonadotropin releasing hormones.
- GnRH hormones tell the pituitary gland to produce luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone, which result in fertility-enhancing testosterone and estrodial.
- Hormonal surges undergird sperm and egg production, ovulation, sexual urges and embryo implantation.
Stress can also impact reproductive health at a very basic level. When you feel stressed, you likely don’t feel like having sex.
Unexplained Infertility and Stress
The disease of infertility continues to confound scientists as a medical mystery. Up to 30 percent of all cases of infertility fall within the ‘unexplained’ category. Female causes account for 40 percent, and male infertility another 40 percent.
Advances in reproductive medicine make it possible to pinpoint causes and effectively treat infertility. A diagnosis that stems from physical causes, such as tubal factors or varicoceles, can actually come as a relief to patients that can confidently proceed with fertility treatment to overcome the barrier to getting pregnant.
Managing Stress During Infertility Treatment
Innovative Fertility Center incorporates mind-body techniques into the practice of modern medicine. Complementary therapies we recommend include acupuncture, proven effective and widely adopted within the infertility medical community.
Your Innovative Fertility Center Patient Advocate can explain the benefits of treatment options to manage stress:
Stress can act as a mitigating factor in every case. For that reason, Dr. Rispler recommends finding and practicing stress-reduction methods most effective for you.