Author: Dr. Priyanka Reddy
Qualification : MBBS, MS(OBG), FMAS, DMAS, FRM
Is there a link between stress and infertility? Know more from our IVF experts
As per the World Health Organisation, infertility is a disease of the male or female reproductive system characterised by a failure to achieve pregnancy even after trying for 12 months. It may either occur due to an issue with the male or female partner, or due to a combination of various factors. Usually self-diagnosable, fertility issues affect millions of people around the world. So if you and your partner are struggling to get pregnant, you are not alone.
Studies suggest that fertility issues affect around 15% of couples all over the world. A cause of concern across the world, infertility in India has recently witnessed a significant rise. As per the World Health Organisation, primary infertility rate in India varies between 3.9%-16.8%. And that’s a considerably wide range. While there are states with 3.7% infertility rate, there are those with 5% and 15%. Even after its multiple implications, infertility care and prevention in India has largely remained a neglected public health issue. It is only now that things are changing, and there’s more awareness to integrate infertility prevention.
Common causes of infertility
In order to achieve pregnancy, all the steps during ovulation and fertilisation need to occur in perfect order. Sometimes the physical issues that cause infertility can be present in either of the partners from birth, and there are times when they develop over time. Some of the generic causes of infertility include:
- Sperm delivery issues
- Sperm production or quality issues
- Damage due to certain chronic disorders and their treatments
- Exposure to certain environmental factors
- Cervical abnormalities
- Ovulation issues
- Ovarian insufficiencies
- Fallopian tube blockage
Stress and fertility
The India of today has witnessed a significant change in terms of shifting priorities to matters of career. A majority of the urban population is so consumed by their careers and aspirations that everything else seems to have taken a backseat. What most people don’t realise is that lifestyle factors like stress are key to a sudden rise in infertility around the world. With marathon working hours, workaholic lifestyles and decreasing attention to personal well being, you end up harbouring a lot of stress. And studies have shown that chronic stress can impact male fertility, sperm production and testosterone levels in men, and ovulation in women. Among other factors like delayed age, pollution and other environmental factors, our experts at Motherhood IVF deem stress and its unhealthy coping mechanisms to be among the most significant factors to cause an alarming rise in infertility.
How does stress affect fertility?
– The physiological effects of stress can disrupt reproductive system functions. A 2015 study involving 259 women found that women with higher levels of stress had lower levels of luteinising hormones, estrogen, progesterone, and higher levels of follicle stimulating hormone during the luteal phase of their cycles; meaning low chances of ovulation.
– Another physiological effect of stress is increased levels of cortisol, which may interfere with follicular development and the inflammatory processes required for ovulation. Moreover, it can also result in abnormal levels of CRH. A stress hormone produced in reproductive tissues, CRH can affect the placenta and uterine lining.
– When we’re stressed, our nervous system produces catecholamines. Catecholamines can affect the blood flow to important reproductive organs, which can affect your chances of getting pregnant. Besides, chronic stress has also been known to decrease your libido. This results in less frequent intercourse; thereby reducing the chances of sperm and egg to fertilise.
The inability to reproduce and have their own children affects both men and women; causing emotional as well as psychological distress. Even though we might not have a complete grasp on the effects of stress on conception rates, keeping your stress levels in check is always a good idea. And even if stress doesn’t impact fertility directly, remember that it is completely normal to feel stressed; especially when you have trouble getting pregnant. Fortunately, there are a range of advanced therapies available today to improve your chances of getting pregnant. Equipped with world class amenities and infrastructure, Motherhood IVF hospitals are among India’s leading centers for different kinds of IVF treatments. With a strong legacy of expertise, advanced technology and compassionate care, Motherhood IVF aims to give you the best results through stable and sustainable pregnancy. You can also reach out to our fertility doctors or experts at Motherhood IVF Hospitals, and consult them about any stress you might be experiencing while trying for pregnancy.
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