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Infertility and Society: Everything You should Know

Team AckoFeb 8, 2024

Delay or inability to conceive can be one of the most painful and difficult experiences anyone can go through. People who realize they are infertile go through the same distressing emotions experienced by those who are grieving any significant loss, which in this case, is the inability to procreate. Characteristic reactions are grief, shock, disbelief, depression, and frustration. Other emotions are a loss of one’s self-esteem, self-belief, and also losing a sense of control over one's future.



Psychological Impact

While the causes of infertility are mainly physical, the resulting distress can exact a huge psychological toll. On top of this, often comes the physical and emotional rigors of infertility treatment, which takes its own toll on the individuals.

Infertility can exert an overwhelming negative impact on one’s self-esteem. Happy, confident people, who previously had successful and organized lives, suddenly feel that they have lost control of their destiny.

There is resentment towards the body failing to respond as expected, a sense that their life as they know it has been put on hold. Moreover, the heartbreak of failure to conceive month after month can put both partners at a high risk of depression.

Social Impact

Infertility can have a huge social impact on a couple’s lives. Research shows clear evidence of difficulties in regular social interaction, such as interacting with family, friends and co-workers, feelings of social judgement or insufficient social support, and eventually social isolation in cases of infertility or infertility treatment.

There is often a toll on social relationships. This could include the primary relationship with a spouse or partner, as well as relationships with friends or family members who may unintentionally cause pain by offering well-meant but misguided opinions and suggestions.

Often, it is seen that couples dealing with infertility tend to avoid social interaction with friends who are pregnant and families who have children, as this interaction naturally adds to their distress at being unable to conceive. They may also have issues around anxiety-related sexual dysfunction and other marital difficulties.

Men's Reaction to Infertility

The research that has been done in reference to men's reactions to infertility shows that they report experiencing less distress than women. However, an important point to keep in mind is that men's reactions may depend on whether they or their partners are diagnosed with infertility. When the problem is diagnosed in their wives or partners, men do not report being as distraught as the women do. But when men themselves are diagnosed with infertility, they more frequently encounter the same levels of low self-esteem, stigma, and depression as infertile women.

What can help?

In cases of infertility-related issues, many individuals seek ways to cope on their own, or rely on their friends or family. But if you and your partner feel you need additional help, there are a number of options available.


Counselling can provide valuable coping strategies on how to manage fatigue, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve social communication with others. It may also help with making decisions during infertility treatment. This is highly advisable, especially if you are having severe changes in mood or sleep patterns or serious relationship problems. Research shows that addressing psychological factors such as anxiety, depression, and stress may help increase the chances of conception.

Relaxation Techniques

Infertility and infertility treatments often result in high levels of stress. A good way to deal with this is through various relaxation techniques. These could include yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, guided imagery, and stress management training.


In certain severe cases, a doctor may prescribe antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications to handle negative feelings of stress and depression. However, women taking psychiatric medication need to consider the risks to a developing fetus. Certain infertility drugs can also interfere with psychiatric medication. Therefore, it is crucial for the individuals and the doctor to consider all these factors when recommending any medication.

Increase Social Awareness

It is an irrefutable fact that childbearing is highly valued in our community. This creates tremendous pressure on couples struggling with conception. The social stigma around childlessness and its manifold social consequences are the main reasons why infertile individuals go through so much emotional and mental trauma. We need to sensitize our society to create an environment of support and caring. This will go a long way in reducing the stress and struggles associated with infertility.

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only, based on industry experience and secondary sources. It is not a substitute for professional advice. Please consult a qualified expert for health or insurance-related decisions. Content is subject to change, refer to current policy wordings for specific ACKO details.



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