Psychological impact of infertility, from the Harvard Mental Health Letter

The case of the California woman who recently gave birth to octuplets generated an enormous amount of public discussion about infertility treatments. But this unusual case has done little to illuminate the far more common, but usually private, psychological challenges faced by the roughly 1.3 million couples who seek infertility advice or treatment each year in the United States, reports the May 2009 issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter.

Although the causes of infertility are overwhelmingly physiological, the resulting heartache may exact a huge psychological toll. Individuals who learn they are infertile often experience the distressing emotions common to those who are grieving a loss. Typical reactions include depression, anger, and frustration.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »