Working through infertility


Dealing with infertility can be grueling on every front: physically, financially, psychological and emotionally. Researchers have now worked to identify the psychosocial coping strategies that work for couples going through IVF with the goal toward reducing stress.

Finding coping skills that work through IVF

The aim of the study was to find out what types of coping strategies, social circumstances and personality traits – referred to as psychosocial factors – helps people through IVF. They also wanted to identify the ones that are linked to especially high incidence of stress which can be related to anxiety and depression. The researchers looked at 23 studies which explored at least one psychosocial factor. Collectively, they showed that there are certain factors that predict worse outcomes during and after IVF. Other factors were positively associated with the experience.

Try escapist thoughts or building a social circle

Neuroticism and the use of escapist or disengagement strategies were found to be helpful. They also found that several different measures of social support were associated with better emotional outcomes. This is the use of a partner, friends or family when experiencing a difficulty. Self-criticism, dependency, situation appraisals and attachment style contributed to distress.

Use your network for support

“In general, people who are socially connected and who use their social network for support during difficult times are happier and healthier, but it is interesting that this is the case for IVF patients too, because as many patients reveal, usually well after going through it all, infertility and its treatment are incredibly personal and many couples don’t particularly want to tell people about it… All this often adds up to couples feeling socially isolated just when the research tells us social support is needed,” explained Helen Rockliff, PhD student from the University of Bristol’s School of Clinical Sciences.

Try meditating on good feelings

“Mindfulness, which is another emerging psychological training tool, is often a component of these interventions too. It appears that with practice the average person can learn to generate these positive emotions quite well using only their mind. Better still, it seems that in learning to do this people also get better at tolerating, and so engaging with their more difficult emotions – meaning less need for disengagement and escapism to cope with them.”

Source: MedicalNewsToday, University of Bristol, Human Reproduction Update


The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. See our Legal Statement for more details.

Fertility Clinics Directory

Find a Fertility Clinic

If you or a loved one is suffering from infertility and needs help conceiving then we are here to offer help in any way we can. We have over 450 Fertility Clinics listed on our Directory. Click here to search for a Fertility Clinic that is right for you.