Infertility and Mental Health


Infertility pic


An experienced psychotherapist, Robin Ohringer, PhD, treats a wide variety of conditions at her practice in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In fact, Dr. Robin Ohringer has a special interest in helping people cope with infertility issues.

Impacting about 10 percent of people in the United States, infertility is not an uncommon problem. However, infertility-related issues are on the rise because people are waiting longer than ever to start a family, and the risk of infertility increases sharply as prospective parents reach their mid-30s.

Fertility struggles can negatively affect mental health. Patients may experience depression and anxiety as a result of feeling inadequate or ashamed of their fertility difficulties. Couples struggling to conceive may even feel stigmatized in a culture where young families are expected to have children.

Fortunately, mental health professionals are equipped to support patients facing fertility obstacles. For instance, providers may recommend group or talk therapy. They may also recommend prescription medicine to address symptoms of anxiety and depression, if necessary. It’s important to note that there is no evidence that shows antidepressants suppress fertility.


Psychological Pain and Infertility

Female Infertility pic

Female Infertility


As a privately practicing psychotherapist, Dr. Robin Ohringer offers help with such mental health issues as anxiety, depression, and relationship stress. Dr. Robin Ohringer has welcomed many patients who struggle with these issues as a result of infertility and the treatment thereof.

Approximately 5 percent of couples living in developed countries experience infertility at some point during their relationships, and the vast majority of these challenges have physical origins. The psychological implications, however, are profound. Studies have shown that these experiences are as upsetting as a life-threatening physical illness, while 50 percent of women interviewed in one particular study call infertility treatment the most upsetting event in their lives thus far.

For many, infertility can manifest much like grief as those experiencing it progress through shock, depression, and anger. The underlying pain may also translate itself into relationship problems, which may be exacerbated by the high costs of fertility treatments. Negative outcomes of treatment can increase depression, though even positive outcomes can cause anxiety about the woman’s ability to carry a baby to term.

Fortunately, support groups and psychotherapy have proven successful at mitigating many of these symptoms. Cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy have emerged as particularly successful techniques, as have supplemental relaxation and mindfulness techniques. A qualified psychotherapist can help individuals and couples to find a treatment program that is most appropriate.

Female Infertility Has Many Causes


Female Infertility pic

Female Infertility

A practicing psychotherapist in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Dr. Robin Ohringer taught for 12 years as an adjunct associate professor at Simmons College School of Social Work. Dr. Robin Ohringer works with women experiencing infertility issues.

Infertility affects one couple in six and is diagnosed when a couple has been actively trying to have a baby for more than one year. If the female is over 35 years of age, it is called infertility after six months of trying. Within the United States, about 10 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 44 have infertility issues.

Female infertility can be caused by various factors, including problems with ovulation, the cervix, the fallopian tubes, or the uterus. The major factors that affect ovulation can be age, weight, a tumor or cyst, alcohol or drug use, a hormone or thyroid gland imbalance, excessive exercise, and eating disorders. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), the leading cause of infertility in women, creates hormonal changes that prevent successful pregnancies.

Women over 35 have more fertility issues because the body reduces the production of eggs as it gets older. Not only are the eggs smaller in size, but they also are released less frequently, and are not as healthy. About one-third of couples where the female is over 35 have trouble conceiving.