If you and your partner are currently struggling with infertility, it’s important that you know you’re not alone. At this point, you may be thinking that you don’t want to subject yourself to the questions, comments, and stories of other infertile couples, but there is real evidence that infertility groups can help you not only cope with your emotions but also conceive a child.
As scientists are becoming more interested in the effects of stress on infertility, more studies are being conducted on the way support groups can relieve stress and boost fertility. For example, a study by Domar and Associates showed a huge increase in viable pregnancies in women who took part in group therapy or support groups as opposed to women who went through infertility treatment alone.
Another study published in Therapy Today in June of 2006 concluded that women who have high levels of cortisol – a hormone that floods our bodies when we’re under stress – became more fertile when their cortisol levels plummeted.
Stress reduction, emotional outlet and support
Besides giving couples or individuals an outlet for their feelings of disappointment and vulnerability in a place that is safe, support groups can give people struggling with infertility a way to exchange information. This is especially true of local groups – as opposed to widespread online groups – in which members can help each other find the best infertility doctors and therapists in the area by word-of-mouth.
One study conducted through the U.K.’s University of Nottingham looked at an online chat room specifically for men going through infertility problems with their partners. The study, which looked at months of chat material, concluded that it was very helpful for these men to open up about their issues in an online medium, since it eliminated the necessity of face-to-face contact. In this group, the men were able to unload feelings that their wives either couldn’t understand or weren’t ready to hear.
Finding a support group
Going to a support group for infertile couples can be a great way to communicate with other people about your problems and, eventually, to become fertile again simply by lowering your body’s stress levels. You may not even know where to begin finding a group like this, but never fear, there are lots of ways to go about it.
If you or your partner is completely uncomfortable with face-to-face discussions about infertility at this point, you can check out online support groups, although they will be lacking the reassurance and comfort that physical contact with other people can often bring. If you are ready to step into a more personal group situation, start looking for support groups in your area online. There are several organizations, like RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association,that can connect you with infertility support groups in your area.
If you would prefer a faith-based approach to infertility support, try contacting the church you attend or another local religious organization. Many churches of different religious persuasions are joining in the fight against infertility by creating support groups for infertile couples in their communities, and even if you are not affiliated with any faith, this could be a good place to begin looking.
If at this point you are still unable to find a group with which you and your partner can connect, try getting into those chat rooms and asking around. Many people who are there may also know of face-to-face groups that meet in certain areas. You could also ask your local infertility clinic or doctor, as many physicians are beginning to realize the value of infertility support groups.