Build Support, Lower Stress, Get Pregnant

The holiday season is now underway. This is often a difficult time of the year for those struggling with infertility. One of the best things that you can do for yourself to enhance your general well-being and increase your chances for conception is to develop a support network.

Having people who understand what you are going through can help you feel less alone, less overwhelmed and less out-of-control. A support network can: provide you with a sounding board to help you better determine the next step in your infertility journey; provide you with information that ordinarily you would not be aware of; remind you that it's the hormones that are making you bloated and feel half-crazed; and offer you hope.

Resolve is a national organization with chapters throughout the country. It offers informational sessions and support groups. The support groups are led by mental health specialists and fall into many categories: primary infertility, secondary infertility, planning to adopt, donor egg and women 40 and over.

You might expect that women who attend a support group experience a reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety, and an increase in feelings of overall well-being. What you probably wouldn't guess is that group attendence may increase the rate of viable pregnancy as well. Research published in Fertility and Sterility (2000) demonstrated that 54% of women who attended a Resolve support group and 55% who attended the Harvard Mind/Body infertility program had a viable pregnancy within one year, compared to 20% in the control group. Patients in both groups received valuable information, support and encouragement from their peers.

Building a support network also helps to keep your partner from becoming burnt-out. No matter how understanding, helpful, and supportive your partner is, the infertility process is simply too much for him to shoulder alone. By reducing some of the strain, you are enabling him to replenish his resources for the rest of the infertility journey. Remember, support is not a luxury, it is a necessity! Best of luck.

Gayle D. Crespy, Psy.D., Program Director