The emotional and psychological impact of facing fertility issues
Infertility can be one of the symptoms of endometriosis. Medical research estimates that up to 30-50% of women with endometriosis may experience infertility.1
Women in such a situation are not only dealing with a debilitating and painful disease but also the heart break of not being able to have children.
Coping with infertility
Everyone reacts to learning that they have fertility issues differently.
Discovering that you are have fertility issues and problems conceiving may evoke feelings of anger, inadequacy, and failure. It can be a challenge to a woman’s feminine identity and self-esteem.
The impact infertility can have on relationships
There can be a large impact on relationships as both partners struggle to understand their individual thoughts and feelings as well as each other’s. Women often describe feeling guilty that they cannot provide partners, parents, and even siblings with the much anticipated and often expected offspring. Men often describe feeling helpless and angry that they cannot ‘fix’ the situation. They feel that their natural instinct to protect and provide has been threatened.
Most find infertility treatments invaluable and have a sensitively-handled and individually tailored experience but many also find the process physically and emotionally exhausting. If there is to be no pregnancy then the sense of loss and grief and the sadness experienced by both men and women can feel insurmountable.
Coping techniques for dealing with infertility
Each individual’s experience is unique; however, you may find the following coping strategies for facing infertility useful.
Find a supportive network
Professional talking therapies provide a neutral, non-judgemental environment where a woman’s individual story may be told and heard empathically.
Joining support groups helps with the isolation. Feeling like you’re not alone in the process provides a certain normality and feeling of belonging. It will also allow you to understand that what you’re feeling and thinking is normal and ok.
Find out if there is an Endometriosis UK Support Group in your local area.
Useful support group websites:
Access good medical care and information to help you make informed choices
The more active a person is able to be, the more they will experience a sense of control in an otherwise uncontrollable situation.
Keep a mood diary or journal
This may help to externalise feelings and go some way towards avoiding further psychological distress, anxiety and depression.
Look after yourself physically
Exercising and making time for other more fun activities may help you relax and help you to reconnect with other aspects of your life.
To learn more about about specific fertility treatment options and more information about endometriosis and fertility, please download our Information Pack.
Endometriosis, fertility and pregnancy Information Pack
1. Meuleman C, Vandenabeele B, Fieuws S, Spiessens C, Timmerman D, D'Hooghe T. High prevalence of endometriosis in infertile women with normal ovulation and normospermic partners. Fertility and Sterility. 2009;92(1):68-74.