Wednesday, October 21, 2015

How We Support You Through A Fertility-Related Distress



by: Dr. Lila Hakim, C.Psych.


Dealing with fertility-related problems can be extremely distressing for individuals and couples. Anxiety, depression, fears, doubts, guilt, shame, and despair may be experienced when there are biological barriers to conception. The stress of a fertility problem can affect one’s sense of emotional and sexual intimacy in relationships. Sometimes a negative self-concept and a sense of failure and anger can spill over into other areas of life, exacerbating couple conflicts and leaving partners feeling emotionally distressed. Partners may become emotionally disconnected, which deepens the sense of loneliness, isolation, and helplessness that can already be experienced as a result of dealing with a fertility issue. The stress associated with fertility-related issues can undermine an individual’s and couple’s emotional health, which can result in anxiety and depression, and negatively affect intimacy and sexual interactions in the relationship. 

Exploration of the deeper meanings associated with infertility or fertility is also an important aspect of the healing process. With couples, reconnecting emotionally can help to counteract feelings of isolation and loneliness. Strengthening the couple relationship ensures that each partner can turn to the other for support in moments of vulnerability to lessen distress and restore a sense of calm and comfort in their lives. Partners become a stronger team in facing fertility challenges and the difficult emotional experiences involved. 

CFIR psychologists and clinicians support individuals and couples dealing with fertility-related issues in coping and dealing with the negative thoughts, distressing feelings, and emotional reactions, and any relationship issues that may have emerged as a result of fertility problems. We also provide clients with education to deal with infertility so they are empowered throughout this journey.


CFIR psychologists and clinicians are active in research in the area of fertility. We have published scientific articles in the area of fertility counselling and are involved in ongoing research in this area.