Does stress affect fertility?

lorne's picture

I read recently how science is looking at the behavior of rats and how their response to stress can shed some light on human reproduction. When I first mentioned this connection between stress and infertility in a public forum in 2002, I was raked over the coals by a local RE. It was nonsense, I was told, and lacking any evidence.

It is not that I am insightful or ahead of science by any means. I was just following the princples and theories of Chinese medicine. So, although it would be flattering to have discovered this link between stress and infertility at least five years ahead of modern science, the reference material I studied this from dates back to well over 1000 years. And according to Chinese medicine, your emotions do directly impact your health and fertility. Thousands of books, an almost infinite amount of papers, and a history of over 200 years is unfortunately not acceptable as evidence by Western science. But the good news is science keeps confirming that what held true 2000 years ago still holds true today.

Of course the news about stress affecting your fertility is only going to make you stressed about not stressing. Stressors are all around us. It is life. Many do try to remove the stresses in their lives, and if you succeed at this, you have my attention. There is a simpler way. It's really not the stressors at fault; it is how we react to the stress that causes the negative affect on our health and fertility. This is why some people can live on the street and be addicted to drugs and still conceive easily. So rather than creating the "perfect" environment where you are protected from all forms of stress (I think you will have gone to a higher place, such as  Heaven, if you experience this) is to learn new techniques to cope with stress. Many of you have heard the quote: "give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime." This takes practice. Creating these new habits of health take practice. It could be a yoga practice, learning a breathing technique, or simply learning to say "no."