Coping and support

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Coping with infertility can be difficult. It's an issue of the unknown — you can't predict how long it will last or what the outcome will be. Infertility isn't necessarily solved with hard work. The emotional burden on a couple is considerable, and plans for coping can help.

Planning for emotional turmoil

  • Set limits. Decide in advance how many and what kind of procedures are emotionally and financially acceptable for you and your partner and determine a final limit. Fertility treatments can be expensive and often aren't covered by insurance. A successful pregnancy often depends on repeated attempts. Some couples become so focused on treatment that they continue with fertility procedures until they are emotionally and financially drained.
  • Consider other options. Determine alternatives — adoption or donor sperm or egg — as early as possible in the fertility process. This can reduce anxiety during treatments and feelings of hopelessness if conception doesn't occur.
  • Talk about your feelings. Locate support groups or counseling services for help before and after treatment to help endure the process and ease the grief should treatment fail.

Managing emotional stress during treatment

  • Practice stress-reduction techniques. Examples include yoga, meditation and massage therapy.
  • Consider going to counseling. Counseling such as cognitive behavioral therapy, which uses methods that include relaxation training and stress management, may help improve semen quality.
  • Express yourself. Reach out to others rather than holding in feelings such as guilt or anger.
  • Stay in touch with loved ones. Talking to your partner, family and friends can be very beneficial. The best support often comes from loved ones and those closest to you.
Jun. 13, 2014

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