Last month was Stress Awareness Month, and we’ve been reflecting on the relationship between stress and fertility. We know that unfortunately, stress is something that the TTC (Trying to Conceive) community knows quite a lot about. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Whether fertility is directly impacted by stress is a topic of debate, but what we know for sure is the mental effect that stress can have on the livelihood of people experiencing infertility. In 2019, Human Reproduction (published by Oxford Academic) found that infertility stress almost doubles the risk of depression in women. A study by the Fertility Network and Leeds Beckett University showed that 93% of male participants stated that their wellbeing had been impacted by infertility.
It seems that in TTC journeys, stress is more common than it's not. In 2019, we conducted a survey of over 400 people who had either undergone fertility treatment or considered it, and found that:
How we deal with stress is deeply personal, and there is no right way for everyone. Some find that acupuncture helps to alleviate stress, while for others, exercise, practiced breathing or meditation is more beneficial. Fertility counselling can be incredibly helpful. And fertility support groups, forums, or friends can be a wonderful way to connect and feel less isolated.⠀⠀⠀
We know that we can't ever eliminate all stress from fertility journeys, but reducing it is one of our missions at Apricity. Some of the ways we do that include:
We also asked you what you found stressful about treatment and how clinics can help to reduce stress. The most common stress trigger revolved around work - needing to take days off, lying to employers, trying to juggle work and treatment. We’ve heard so many stories around fertility and work, from unsympathetic managers to rigid policies that made treatment difficult. It is not uncommon for people to quit their jobs as a result.
We’re happy to say that when it comes to work, we’re collaborating with an increasing number of businesses in drafting fertility policies and education, to help employers as well as employees feel supported when trying to conceive. We feel really positive about this, and are finding more and more companies receptive and enthusiastic about improving the fertility journeys for their staff.
For information or support around fertility in the workplace, Working Families have some great guidance for women undergoing fertility treatment, and may be able to offer additional advice. Our friends Becky Kearns, Natalie Silverman and Claire Ingle have also started a great initiative called Fertility Matters at Work, designed to raise awareness of fertility issues in the workplace.
We’ll end with a few of the places we love online, that help foster connection. Feeling part of a community during fertility struggles can make a world of difference when it comes to stress. Regardless of the path you’re on or how long you’ve been on it, we hope they will help you remember that you’re never alone.
These are just a few that regularly talk about stress, but there are so many incredible places online dedicated to supporting people on their fertility journeys. ⠀
We hope that you if you are undergoing fertility treatment with us or have done so in the past, that you felt our efforts to reduce stress. And if there are any ways you think we could further reduce stress, know we are all ears. Simply email email@example.com with your ideas and we will try our very best to implement them.
If you're interested in getting started with Apricity, get in touch here or book a free callback with one of our fertility advisors.Book a free call