Fertility and Stress: Is There a Connection?

In general, stress is perceived as harmful to the body. But is there really a connection between stress and fertility? We'll tell you more about it here.
Fertility and Stress: Is There a Connection?

Last update: 06 February, 2019

We know that chronic stress is harmful to our health. It activates many organs and glands in the body and leads to undesirable reactions, such as a headache or an increase in heart rate, among others. However, is there a real and direct connection between fertility and stress?

Stress affects us both emotionally and physically. Being always on alert is a real wear and tear on the body. And according to how you try to manage it, it’ll affect you more or less. Hence, the importance of finding the right tools.

Getting pregnant

When a woman is trying to get pregnant but can’t, it’s normal for her to worry and fill her mind with overwhelming ideas and feelings. This situation, although different in every case, can affect women’s health and, therefore, their fertility.

As far as the body’s concerned, everything’s related. Many factors, both internal and external, can affect fertility.

Depending on the person, the increased level of stress can modify women’s sleep patterns and appetite. It can also cause hormone production to change suddenly and cause irregular ovulation.

Fertility and Stress: Is There a Connection?

What does the research say?

According to a study recently conducted at the University of Ohio, women with a high level of alpha-amylase are less likely to get pregnant. The fact is that feeling stressed, nervous or upset causes changes in the ovulation cycle, and therefore, complicates fertilization.

According to the study, excess stress can affect the function of the hypothalamus. This is the organ responsible for regulating hormones (and, therefore, emotions).

Feeling stressed affects not only women but also men; thus, sperm production can decrease considerably. This indicates that, when there’s stress, the body can be predisposed in various ways, regardless of the person’s sex. Now, how can we avoid this?

Fertility and stress: learn to manage

When faced with a stressful situation, it’s necessary to learn to control your emotions correctly. Of course, it’s not something you can do overnight, and it’s necessary to know that you have to work at it, every day.

There are no magic formulas and some days will be harder than others, but it’s possible to progress.

When women undergo fertility treatments and feel stressed, it can affect the outcome of their results. Therefore, it’s essential to learn to manage emotions and let things flow.

Staying calm, being understanding and trusting can favor us much more than high expectations created out of fear.

Chronic stress doesn’t always cause infertility problems, but its influence can’t be ruled out. Therefore, the connection between fertility and stress depends on the person.

Fertility and Stress: Is There a Connection?

What can we do to reduce stress?

Various activities help distract us, free our mind, and feel better overall. It’s recommended that we apply them to maintain our stress levels as low as possible. The most popular and recommended activity in these cases is yoga.

Here are some everyday tips you can also put into practice:

  • Practice breathing deeply every day until it becomes a habit.
  • Meditate. Visualize a pleasant place like the beach, a cabin in the forest or another space that transmits tranquility and serenity.
  • Eat and hydrate yourself properly.
  • Let off steam whenever necessary with someone you trust or psychologist.
  • Exercise (do yoga or any other sport or activity that pleases you).
  • Keep good relationships. You have to be close, affectionate and kind.

The important thing is not to try to solve everything at once. Rather, little by little, try to free your mind, and focus on the positive aspects of life in order to empower yourself. This is something that will benefit you in the short and long term.

By downplaying the importance of “fertility and stress” you’ll help clear up your mind and, consequently, stabilize your body.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Aslzaker, Maryam & Pourshahbaz, Abbas & Lankarani, Narges & Mohammadkhani, Parvaneh & Geranmayepour, Shiva. (2016). Effects of Infertility Stress, Psychological Symptoms, and Quality of Life on Predicting Success Rate of IVF/ICSI Treatment in Infertile Women. Practice in Clinical Psychology. 4. 275-281. 10.18869/acadpub.jpcp.4.4.275.
  • Stress and infertility. American Society for Reproductive Medicine. ReproductiveFacts.org
  • Galst, Joann. (2017). The Elusive Connection Between Stress and Infertility: A Research Review With Clinical Implications. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration. 28. 10.1037/int0000081.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.