Is It Just the Emotions of Infertility or Depression?

It comes as no surprise that women dealing with infertility also feel depressed; however, evidence shows that there may actually be a correlation between the two conditions. It can be difficult to diagnose clinical depression in women going through infertility, and there are special challenges with regard to treatment. The key is to keep the lines of communication between you, your healthcare provider, and your partner open.

Identifying Infertility Emotions Versus Signs of Depression

Affecting about one in seven couples, infertility is a complex issue -- not only physically, but also emotionally. While infertility can cause a wide range of emotions each month as a couple tries to become pregnant, it's important to know when these emotions may be signs of a more serious mental disorder -- specifically, depression.

Infertility and depression are two separate disorders. Can one cause the other? The correlation between the two has been studied, but there are no concrete conclusions. There is, however, some evidence that major depression may reduce fertility and that infertility may cause major depression.
It would seem reasonable to expect that women going through infertility would develop depression, given the traumatic nature of the grief and loss experienced on a monthly basis. However, not everyone who goes through infertility develops major depression.

Research has shown that infertile women do have an increased rate of major depressive disorder (MDD). If you are going through infertility, it's important to be able to distinguish between "normal" emotions of infertility and those that may signal MDD (which may require medical treatment).
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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