How many times have couples who are struggling to become pregnant been told to go home and relax, or, go home and don’t think about it? And, everyone has heard about couples who have “forgotten” about their fertility problem and have conceived. The implication is that self-induced stress is the reason for not conceiving. Therefore, one would assume that if a couple forgot about their fertility problems and lowered their stress, then their chance of conceiving would increase. The scientific data does not support “just relaxing” as a the cure for infertility.
However, minimizing stress is very important for couples going through fertility treatments. To decrease stress, it is helpful for a couple to consume less caffeine and develop the correct balance between diet and exercise. Telling a couple to go home and relax will only add to their stress.
Remember that men and women deal with stress differently. Women complain that men do not want to talk about this problem as much as they do. It is very beneficial for women to be able to talk to someone about the difficulty in becoming pregnant. After all, women process by talking. The problem with men is that they are “fix it “people. When they cannot fix a problem, it becomes very stressful, so they may not want to talk about it. It is important for men to realize that their women partners are not asking the men to fix it, but to just listen. Therefore, it is important for men to “turn off the sports on television” and spend time listening to their partners. On the other hand, it is important for women to realize that they need to give their relationship a break from talking about fertility. A good compromise is for the couple to spend time talking about the problem during the week, but avoid the subject on the weekend and enjoy a date with their partner.
One of the most important recommendations for increasing the chance of conceiving is to develop a plan of action. Unless a couple has completely obstructed fallopian tubes, ovarian failure, or an exceptionally low sperm count, there is a chance that pregnancy might occur without medical intervention. However, the chance of conceiving may be as low as 10% over the couple’s reproductive lifetime. Therefore, it is always advisable to seek assistance from a board certified reproductive endocrinologist to increase the chance of conceiving. Having a structured plan will help lower stress.
It is very common for couples to be given advice from a family member and/or a friend. Family and friends feel the need to give advice. In the process of giving you advice, they feel that they have to tell you a story about how someone else became pregnant. They are hoping that they have given you some insight on how to improve your chances of conceiving or, at least, told you a story that gives you hope. It is rare that the advice is of any benefit. Even though that have good intentions, the best thing for a friend or family member to do is to simply be a good listener, and not offer advice.