Home Gender & Sexuality The Adverse Impacts of IVF on Women’s Mental Health

The Adverse Impacts of IVF on Women’s Mental Health

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In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is a widely-used fertility treatment used by women who want to become pregnant but have trouble doing so naturally. The procedure involves taking eggs from the woman, fertilising these with sperm in an IVF lab, and implanting them in her uterus.

It’s a complex and technical procedure that involves many risks. Women who undergo IVF often experience emotional and physical stress as they prepare for pregnancy and childbirth. 

This emotional strain may affect their relationships with family members and friends and their ability to cope with everyday life at home or work. 

Hormonal side effects from fertility-boosting drugs

Women taking fertility-boosting drugs (like Clomid or Letrozole) may experience hormonal side effects like nausea, hot flashes, headaches, fatigue, and weight gain. Even worse, it can increase the risk of developing ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). 

OHSS is a condition that occurs when an egg is released from the ovary too quickly and causes fluid to build up in the abdomen. It can be serious if left untreated because it can lead to organ damage or even death.

All these physical side effects of ovulation-inducing medication can trigger mental health problems, such as mood fluctuations and depression. Hence, it’s crucial to talk to an IVF Clinic and doctor about the medications you’re taking and their possible side effects before starting them.

Losing hope after failures  

After the first IVF treatment with a negative result, many women lose hope of being healthy and having a normal pregnancy. Studies have also discovered that it can cause women to have increased levels of anxiety, depression, and stress. 

Failed IVF cycles can be very stressful for women, so they might try to avoid problems by not telling anyone about their condition. Some of them may also feel like they’re alone in this situation. There are fewer organizations or support groups specifically for people who have had multiple failed treatments at home or abroad.

In addition to this lack of support network, it’s often difficult to find someone who understands exactly how you feel because no one else has ever felt what you’re going through. Hence, nobody knows how best to help or comfort you when things get tough. 

Financial stress

IVF treatments are expensive, especially in Europe and America. In the United States, there’s a $10,000-$30,000 cost per cycle (the number of cycles you go through) for your treatment. This can quickly add up if you have multiple children to conceive by IVF.

Fertility treatments are available at lower costs in some parts of Europe. This figure can be as low as $2K–$3K per cycle or even less if the clinic doesn’t charge any upfront fee for their services. 

These rates vary depending on where you live; some countries offer free medical care, while others don’t provide any funding. In other words, you’ll still need money saved up before getting started, regardless of the country, state, or city you live in or travel through during this process.

Besides being expensive, IVF treatments are not covered by health insurance in most countries worldwide. This means that many people who need fertility treatment can’t afford it if they don’t have any extra funds available for treatment costs like medications or laboratory testing fees, which can be quite expensive.

Anxiety from initial treatment 

IVF isn’t only an expensive, time-consuming invasive procedure. The initial anxiety of treatment is also stressful in itself. That’s why it requires support from family and friends. However, this stress may increase when other aspects of the process become more complicated than you had anticipated. 

For example, there may be a need for additional treatments or complications that arise. When these happen, remember that you’re not alone in this journey, and many resources are available to assist you through the process.

Relationship stress

Getting pregnant through IVF may cause stress in a relationship between partners. During an IVF procedure, a woman needs more affection and support. However, a man may not understand what exactly she’s going through, so he thinks she’s giving him too much attention. This can lead to resentment by both partners, who feel they’re not appreciated for their efforts in raising children.

The woman may also feel like she’s being taken advantage of, especially if there are multiple rounds of IVF before getting pregnant with her first child. She feels like this process has taken over her life and made her less important than other things that were once important to her, such as school or work career advancement goals, which might be affected by IVF.

Final thoughts 

The decision to pursue IVF treatment is a difficult one. It can be frightening, stressful, and emotional for both the woman and her partner. However, with time, patience, and understanding from your partner and yourself during this process, you can make it through without major mental health issues arising.


Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle. 

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