Can Infertility Affect My Mental Health?

9th June 2017

Anyone who has struggled to conceive knows that infertility can be a stressful and challenging experience. Infertility can take its toll medically, physically, psychologically, and financially, which is why Shady Grove Fertility provides an integrated care model that cares for the wellbeing of our patients from each of these perspectives.

Fertility Treatment and Mental Health

A recent US news source, VICE, spoke with Sharon N. Covington, LCSW-C, Director of Psychological Support Services at Shady Grove Fertility, about how Fertility Treatments Take a Toll on Mental Health.” The article highlights the effect fertility treatments can have on mental health and the importance of fertility counselling with trained health professionals.

Repeat treatments and medications can have an enormous emotional impact on patients. As well, if the road ahead requires the need for third-party assistance such as donor egg treatment, it can be a journey affected by grief, sadness, uncertainty, and anxiety. However, help is available and patients are encouraged to take advantage of SGF’s mental health resources.

The Advantages of Counselling during Fertility Treatment

Counselling throughout your fertility journey can provide numerous advantages including the opportunity to talk openly and freely, the chance to explore feelings and sensitive subjects that are currently challenging, and a way to find solutions and personal ways to cope.  

Throughout the article, several patients describe their emotional journey and why counselling was so essential to them. Despite the increasing rate of clinical depression and anxiety in both females and males undergoing fertility treatment, few patients are informed or offered mental health support by their fertility clinic. Again, this is why SGF has lead the way from the beginning with a Wellness Centre that integrates medical and psychological care for all patients.

The Importance of Counseling before Third-Party Fertility Treatment

With so many people involved in helping to create a child (sometimes five or more), all with different needs and requirements, this is what Covington calls a “complex psychosocial minefield” to maneuver throughout the counseling process. Here at Shady Grove Fertility, we follow the American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommendation that highlights that all parties involved in third-party reproduction (donors and donor recipients) receive counselling prior to treatment.

How do I find mental health support during infertility?

Here at Shady Grove Fertility, we encourage patients to join our International Facebook page to connect with other patients who truly understand how difficult infertility is. For many patients finding a local support group is also helpful. Speak to your local physician to find a support group nearest you.

Shady Grove Fertility’s Psychological Support Services are available to international patients with consultations available via VSee. Please email Sharon Covington to request a consult.

Resolve: The National Infertility Association, a Shady Grove Fertility visionary partner, offers online support communities for patients all over the world. These online communities allow patients to connect based on treatment type and age.

The phrase we most often hear in our local support groups is “I wish I hadn’t waited so long to receive this help,” or as Covington states, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”

Infertility is a big mountain to climb alone. Let us support you and help you reach your goal of parenthood.

For more information about mental health and support throughout donor egg treatment at Shady Grove Fertility, please email International Patient Liaison, Amanda Segal.


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