One in every 15 Indian couples are said to be struggling with infertility. With a population of over 2.7 crore infertile people including men and women infertility is a societal health concern in India. Lack of awareness, delayed diagnosis as well as hesitance to seek assisted reproductive treatment is adding to this health concern. The increasing rates of infertility is exacerbated by late marriages, hectic professional commitments, demanding lifestyles, obesity, increased stress levels, poor eating habits as well as bad lifestyle choices such as smoking, drinking, etc.

What is Infertility?
A couple is considered infertile if they regularly engage in unprotected sexual activity yet are nonetheless unable to conceive. Infertility is known to be caused by 40–50% anomalies of the female reproductive system and about 20% faulty sperm. Age is one of the main risk factors that can affect a person’s fertility. After the age of 50, a man’s fertility starts to diminish, whereas a woman’s fertility starts to decline after the age of 32 and keeps declining after that.

Stress and Fertility

Medical research suggests that a woman’s daily stress levels are linked to a decreased probability of getting pregnant. For example, women who had higher amounts of the stress-marking enzyme alpha-amylase in their saliva took longer to become pregnant than those who had lower levels. Further stress in either of the partners makes it less likely to have sex and more likely to use and abuse substances such as alcohol, tobacco, or caffeine.

Small levels of stress from time to time should not affect your fertility. However extreme levels of chronic stress on an ongoing basis do hamper your fertility levels. Here are the two things which occur during chronic stress that affect your chances of getting pregnant:

  • A decreased sex drive
    This can be distressing, especially if you are trying for a baby.
  • Anovulation
    If you’re not ovulating, there is no release of egg and you can’t get pregnant.

Stress hormones, such as cortisol and epinephrine, rise during challenging situations, and may affect one’s fertility in a negative way. Reducing stress is a great way to increase blood flow to the reproductive organs, and thereby increase the supply of nutrients in those regions.

How infertility causes stress?

Infertility is often a silent struggle faced by both the partners. Patients who are struggling to conceive report feelings of depression, anxiety and isolation. Women with infertility usually report elevated levels of anxiety and depression due to societal pressure and feelings of frustration and sadness.

How to manage stress?

It is definitive that infertility leads to significant mental stress which need timely interventions that help improve your fertility levels. Dr. Hitesha Ramnani Rohira, Consultant- IVF at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Mumbai shares some stress busting techniques recommended to fertility patients:

  • Acupuncture 
  • Collaboration with experts in stress reduction
  • Journaling
  • Listening to music
  • Massage therapy
  • Meditation
  • Mind-body groups
  • Mindfulness
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Psychotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Self-help books
  • Support/educational groups
  • Walking/hiking
  • Yoga

Fertility care at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Mumbai

Experiencing infertility can be stressful and can impact various aspects of a couple’s life. The Department for Reproductive Endocrinology and Fertility (CREF) offers hope and support to couples struggling to conceive. Our team of specialists provide a comprehensive and advanced range of diagnostic and treatment options to address various fertility issues, including assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), intrauterine insemination (IUI), and egg and sperm donation. CREF is staffed by a full-time consultant reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist, embryologist, IVF coordinator, nurses trained in caring for patients with endocrine and infertility issues. Additionally our team also offers Integrative Medicine in addition to medical therapies and a specially tailored Mind-Body Program for infertile couples to provide emotional support to patients. Please find our link below for more details:

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