Growing Edges Coping with Infertility

The diagnosis of infertility--and the resulting treatments--can challenge a couple's ability to manage stress, uncertainty, and disappointment. In fact, the inability to have children can be one of the greatest challenges that a person or couple will ever face. It affects people emotionally, physically, and financially. Many people wonder if what they are experiencing is normal, and are looking for advice on coping more effectively.

When one or both partners start to feel the impact of infertility, it can be a good idea to seek the services of a mental health professional, especially one who has experience working with the issues of infertility.

Take the Infertility Distress Syndrome Quiz to see if you need some help individually or as a couple. Don't hesitate to find a therapist who can help you arrive at what is the best decision for you in your effort to build a family.

Since these issues are so complex, it is important to find a therapist who has experience and training in dealing with the impact on individuals, couples, and families. Many couples also find relief in support groups where they can meet regularly with other infertile couples, share experiences, and support each other.

Although a mental health professional cannot influence the outcome of the medical treatment, he or she can help the couple get through the process by helping them communicate better with each other and gain support from family and friends.

Download our newsletter on the topic: Keeping Your Relationship Strong During Infertility.

Infertility Counseling/Consultation

The pain of infertility can enter the deepest part of your being and can remain there. Embarking on this unique journey to finally begin your family can include many test and medical procedures. During the course of your care, you or your partner may experience roller coaster emotions: from excitement and anticipation, to repeated frustration. Research has shown that depression, isolation, anxiety and feelings of "not being in control" are common symptoms when dealing with infertility. For many, psychotherapy and stress reduction training can greatly reduce these symptoms.

Third Party Reproduction Evaluations

If you are using an egg donor as an option to conceive a child, your doctor will refer this individual for a psychological evaluation to assess her mental state and to determine her ability to participate in the process of egg donation. The evaluation will consist of a clinical interview and psychological tests.

Mind/Body Program

Mind/body programs are 10 weeks long for 2.5 hours per week. During the course of the program you will learn how to reduce the physical symptoms of stress, learn to self-nurture, communicate effectively, cope with negative emotions, learn relaxation techniques, learn the impact of diet and exercise on fertility, and learn about alternative medicine. This is a research based program modeled after the Harvard Mind/Body Medical Institute's Infertility Program. Dr. Swartout has been personally trained by Dr. Alice Domar, Ph.D., a luminary in the field of Mind/Body work in infertility. (Click here for a printable flyer)

At Growing Edges, patients can consult in person with Ilyssa Swartout, Psy. D. for guidance and support. We also welcome emails asking about the "emotional side" of infertility and its implications.

Mind/Body Program

Are you experiencing trouble sleeping, increase or decrease in appetite, neck or shoulder pain, headaches, stomach pain, anxiety, frustration, anger, isolation, or confusion? These symptoms, while not unusual, may be contributing to your inability to conceive. You may benefit from a Mind/Body Program. Please view our Mind/Body section for more on this helpful program, or click here for a printable flyer on our 10-week course.

Read an informative INFERTILITY INTERVIEW by Dr. Swartout:

Full Interview in PDF Format [Click Here]

Additional Resources:

National Infertility Association:

American Society for Reproductive Medicine:

Mind/Body Programs:
Domar Center for Complementary Health Care

Boston IVF