Stress and Infertility - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Stress and Infertility




At only 36 years old Deborah Horskey was faced with a brutal reality.  Her biological clock had been fast forwarded nearly 20 years.  Seven months ago, doctors told Deborah that she was in pre-mature menopause…her dream of having a baby, completely shattered.  “Month after month after month, not pregnant, not pregnant, not pregnant,” said Deborah.


Deborah and her husband were now racing against time to conceive.  She says the stress of trying to become pregnant combined with discovering she was in pre-mature menopause was overwhelming.


In recent years, researchers have found a link between stress and infertility. Women who are constantly under stress produce prolactin, cortisol and other hormones which can interfere with or even block regular ovulation.  Although there has been an explosion of people turning to fertility drugs and in-vitro fertilization, more and more, doctors are looking to alternative treatments to help their patients conceive.


“You need a healthy body and a healthy mind,” says Dr. Allen Morgan, Director of Shore Institute of Reproductive Surgery.  Dr. Morgan believes that stress can dramatically impact fertility.  He says many of his patients feel robbed of their control and their choices and often have feelings of hopelessness.


In fact, research has shown that women going through infertility rated themselves as having higher levels of depression than women going through cancer treatment. 


“The number of unexplained infertility patients I have has just been increasing dramatically,” reports Dr. Morgan.


These are patients with no physiological problem such as a low sperm count or in a woman, blocked fallopian tubes.  Dr. Morgan says it’s extremely common for a couple’s anxiety to snowball, but he encourages his patients to avoid stress when possible.


“What we’re trying to educate our patients about is reducing stress in some fashion either through exercise or yoga,” says Dr. Morgan.


Suzanne Welch is a massage therapist who works with women who are undergoing infertility treatments.  “It seems to really be able to get the patient in the relaxed state that they need to be in,” says Suzanne.


Deborah took the fertility drug clomid and went for acupuncture, an ancient Chinese treatment, involving the placement of fine needles in the skin as a way of stimulating energy points in the body which helps bring balance to your spiritual, mental and physical well-being.  “Your body is relaxed, your mind follows along and I really think it helps,” says Deborah.


Sure enough, come November Deborah and her husband will be expanding their family.  “I’m going to have two boys coming soon and it’s just going to be a whole new world for the two of us,” says Deborah.


Dr. Morgan also suggests reducing your caffeine intake, if you’re a smoker, plain and simple, quit and make sure you’re getting enough sleep.   It can all really make a difference in helping reduce stress as well as increasing your chances of becoming pregnant.  


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