The fact that a diagnosis was made and infertility was identified is for many patient connected with enormous stress; it turns the world upside down, changes perception and usually leads at least to changes in the current lifestyle of the patient.

Patients, having heard the diagnosis of infertility, experience a kind of loss, not as of a person or their contact with this person, but of their potential opportunities to fulfill their desires. There is a certain pattern of the psychological reaction to the infertility diagnosis: first comes the phase of denial, then anger and finally acceptation appears. The first reaction is usually astonishment and disbelief. Often patients do not want to accept the diagnosis and deny its accuracy.

In the next phase, the typical reactions are anger and indignation, both towards the person of the physician, diagnostic methods and treatment methods, and towards the person of the partner, especially if the fault is attributable to her or him.

The last phase is the acceptance of infertility and its consequences. Entering this phase means calming the intense emotions and coming to terms with unplanned childlessness totally. Even though grief and the feeling of loss can still show up, an acceptance is born, which consists in seeking the way to overcome childlessness. Infertile couples can analyze the available treatment methods, take the decision about adopting a child or accept the situation and resolve to remain childless (according to Bielawska-Batorowicz: “Psychologiczne Aspekty Prokreacji” 2006).

The diagnosis of infertility, and then its treatment, is meaningful not only in the medical context, but it also has financial, sociological, emotional and psychological effect on the patient, his or her partner, family or those around. Emotions such as fear, anxiety, sorrow, depression, loneliness, powerlessness are quite common among patients treated for infertility, while tense and full of stress relations between partners are often present throughout the process of treatment.

Emotional problems can affect the outcome of the conducted treatment. During the treatment, the so-called emotional ups and downs occur, but attention should be paid to various negative feelings, especially when they gain in intensity. In such cases, it is worth considering the possibility of using a professional support provided by a psychologist with experience in the area of problems related to infertility or a psychotherapist, in particular when the following emotions persist for a longer time: lack of interest in daily life, feeling of sadness which does not pass, tension in relations with people around, difficulties with thinking about anything other than infertility, anxiety, problems with concentration, falling asleep, sleeping, waking up, changed appetite and body weight, increased use of stimulants such as cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, thoughts about death or suicide, long-lasting feeling of isolation, pessimism, feeling of guilt, hopelessness, rage or aggression.

The medical team in INVICTA (doctors, midwives, nurses, consultants and patient assistants) endeavor to provide support and to minimize the influence of emotional factors on the treatment; nevertheless, often it is much more indicated to consult the psychologist or psychotherapist whose everyday task is the cooperation with the patients of the Fertility Clinic. (Information concerning the options of such appointment with the psychologist can be obtained from the Patient Assistant or the physician).

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Published: 2 November 2015 Updated: 4 April 2017