Does depression cause infertility? Mary
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There’s no question infertility can trigger a depression, but whether or not the opposite is true is still being debated. There is little evidence that stress can cause infertility, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. However, women might increase their chances of having a baby by learning how to manage stress, according to a 1997 report presented at a Cincinnati ASRM meeting. Overall, 38% of 174 women became pregnant who completed a 10-week stress management course. However, since this was not a controlled study which reviewed the pregnancy rate of those who did not participate in training, the researchers could not statistically conclude that the pregnancy rates were higher than expected. In another study of cases when only the woman was infertile. pregnancy rates were twice as high in women who coped with depression by reaching out to others, compared to those who remained isolated and lost with their feelings of guilt and anger. Some research has indicated that mood can have an effect on ovulation or embryo implantation, and that high levels of stress may also cause fallopian tube spasm or decreased sperm production. There is more inclination than ever before to make a connection between stress and triggers to chemical and physical reactions in the body. If you are on an infertility rollercoaster of determination, hope and despair—there is no doubt you would benefit from counseling and support, although reducing your stress still will not guarantee a baby. Look for a licensed mental health professional in your area that can help you. Best wishes and take care of yourself.
Brenda Crawford-Clark, LMHC, LMFT, NCC
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