How one affects the other and what is the way out?
Parenthood is more than just a phase in life; it’s something a lot of us dearly wait for. But as much as there is a large amount of anticipation and excitement that surrounds pregnancy, same is the amount of psychological impact that the non-conceivability of a baby has on a couple.
The effects are many and have been observed all over the world in patients when they discover infertility. Infertile couples are more prone to emotional deficits such as anger, depression, sexual dysfunction, marital issues, and social isolation to name a few. Some couples have been seen to experience a loss of identity, stigma, and a marred self-esteem. While a woman’s reaction to discovering infertility is much stronger than her male partner’s, studies show that a man’s reaction is hugely influenced by his spouse’s feelings and emotions.
In instances where infertility depression is observed, it is also noted that there exists a strong indulgence of depressed physiology such as imbalance in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, elevated prolactin levels, and malfunctioning thyroids. Changes in the immune function associated with stress and depression may also adversely affect reproductive function.
Male Infertility depression and treatment
It is normal for couples to experience psychological distress during an infertility treatment due to the uncertainty associated with the treatment. No treatment has a 100% chance of conception. The associated IVF failure depression acts as an additive to infertility depression. Studies reveal that IVF depression and stress complements each other.
Psychological ailments may also interfere with factors such as infertility treatment, IVF success rates, and the body’s reception to a treatment. The male infertility depression is common when the male partner realises that he may not be able to father a child naturally.
Counselling at every aspect of fertility treatment and also preparing the couple for the result of such treatment, goes a long way in avoiding IVF depression and IVF failure depression. Fertility treatment should be individualized to the unique needs of each couple.
Although there are still no specific studies on how infertile couples can help cope with the mental consequences, it is believed and practiced that the usual psychological interventions that are beneficial for the larger population works in this case as well.
Another effective treatment in this case is pharmacotherapy but many people step back with the fear that antidepressant medication may put assisted reproductive procedures at risk. While pharmacological therapy is beneficial for both the female and male partner it is however not recommended to use antidepressants during pregnancy but there is no proven impact of medication on infertility treatments.