Missed conceptions: why mental health is vital in treating ...


Missed conceptions: why mental health is vital in treating infertility

With depression comes a greater risk for infertility, bolstering the case for psychological support

Linda Christensen

The desire to have children is age-old but, according to a UN report of fertility, for the one in five SA couples who struggle with infertility, getting pregnant is a double-edged sword. While infertility has a negative effect on mental wellbeing, its root causes can also lie in mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.

Women with a history of depression are at greater risk for infertility, while a study in the International Journal of Urology found that depression and some anti-depressant medications can negatively affect male fertility (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/iju.14111). At the same time, a struggle with infertility is deeply stressful and can cause feelings of grief and isolation through to full-blown anxiety disorders and depression, as well as conflict in relationships and families.

“This makes psychological support a vital part of the ‘infertility journey’, both before starting and during infertility treatment, because good mental health can have a positive impact on the success of fertility treatment,” says Prof Renata Schoeman, psychiatrist and member of the South African Society of Psychiatrists (SASOP)...

This article is reserved for Sunday Times Daily subscribers.
A subscription gives you full digital access to all Sunday Times Daily content.

Sunday Times Daily

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems?
Email helpdesk@timeslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.

Previous Article