** Infertility affects 6.1 million American women and their partners — about 10 percent of the reproductive age population.
abnormalities and sperm deficiencies are the most common causes of infertility. Together, they are responsible for two-thirds of infertility problems.
** "Jealousy is probably the most painful, and more so because it's not really a socially acceptable emotion," says Tuttle. "There's also guilt for depriving spouses and parents of a child, loneliness and often loss of faith." Obsession is also a factor. Tuttle encounters many women who say they can't stop thinking about it, that it haunts them even while they're sleeping. "Part of the reason is that every month you're reminded that you once again have failed to become pregnant,".
** Schalesky experienced the gamut of emotions, from jealousy when it seemed as if everyone else had children, to loneliness, to occasional crises of faith. "I struggled physically, emotionally and spiritually," she says. "My faith helped in some ways, but in some ways it made it more difficult as well, because I had the additional question of why wouldn't God bless me. I really struggled with the spiritual aspect of my infertility."
** What makes it even more difficult for women is that, even in very supportive marriages, their spouses may not understand what they're going through. Men simply don't react to the stress and anxiety of fertility treatments in the same way women do, says Dr. Mark P. Leondires, reproductive endocrinologist.
** "Infertility treatment doesn't affect the male partner in the same way because they're not dealing with the therapy every day, and they're not dealing with getting a menstrual period every month," says Dr. Leondires. "Often, men just want this fixed. They just want their wives to get pregnant, but they're also able to put it aside for other things when they want to. Women often can't do that."
** Infertility also tests relationships, because infertility treatments affect every aspect of a couple's life, Dr. Leondires says. "Once you get into the fertility grind, you're with it every minute of every day," he says. "You have to do these injections at these specific times, and you can't go to a party or have a drink or have sex. Sex, in fact, is reduced to work or a sperm sample. This may distance couples and cause isolation and worsen the depression." Add in the extreme hormonal changes that infertility treatments can induce, and it can become an emotionally volatile time.
** Myth: If you just calm down and stop trying then you'll get pregnant. Fact: Infertility is not a psychological disorder. Infertility is not a physical disease, not one that will resolve on it's own. While stress does not cause infertility, infertility causes tremendous stress for a couple. Research shows that women going through infertility experience many of the same emotions and mental stress as those with cancer, HIV, and chronic pain.