Infertility can be defined as:- ‘The failure to conceive after having regular and unprotected intercourse for one to two years.
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines state that a woman of reproductive age who has not conceived after one year of vaginal intercourse in the absence of any known cause of infertility should be offered further clinical assessment and investigation along with her partner. A woman can be offered an earlier referral to a specialist if she is aged 36 years or over. It has been documented that around one in six couples may have difficulty conceiving. This is approximately 3.5 million people in the UK.
Types of infertility
There are two types of infertility:
- Primary infertility – where someone who has never conceived a child in the past has difficulty conceiving
- Secondary infertility – where a person has had one or more pregnancies in the past, but is having difficulty conceiving again. This is becoming more apparent in recent years. I see many women conceive their first child very easily and then the second proves much more difficult. This could be due to birth complications or simply the stress and pressure of conceiving as quickly second time proves to be too much.
Impact of infertility on couples
“Infertility can impact the body both physically and emotionally”
Suddenly your life which may have been well planned and successful seems out of control. You go from living day to day to month to month. Cycles of hope and disappointment which revolve around menstruation and ovulation. Emotions can range from sorrow, anger, frustration to a deep depression which erodes your self-confidence and puts strain on relationships and friendships. You may feel completely isolated. Studies show that as a group, women with fertility problems are as anxious and depressed as women with cancer or heart disease.
As a Fertility Reflexologists I do not underestimate the stress caused by infertility and how the stress hormone cortisol can cause huge imbalances in the endocrine system. Take a look at how Fertility Reflexology may be able to help your fertility journey.