Lauren GrossbachParentsPregnancy Loss

How Infertility Changes Your Life

An image of an infertility diagnosis. Infertility can be difficult and challenging mentally. Look for a therapist near you to help process and work through infertility.

When you hear that someone is going through infertility, what comes to mind? 

Do you think of your own experiences with fertility? 

Perhaps you remember hearing about that celebrity who also went through infertility. Maybe your mind goes to the world of adoption and other nontraditional families. When infertility comes up, you might feel a weight of sadness for those who have been affected. Even still, you might know close to nothing about infertility or how it works.

I’m here to tell you that those of us going through infertility, also at one time, had no idea about how it works! So you’re in good company. It’s okay if you don’t know what to say, ask, or do. Talking about infertility is an opportunity to learn from one another. I encourage you to ask questions, challenge assumptions, and be open. My hope is that we as a society can learn more about exactly how to help those going through infertility. 

This starts with understanding what the journey can entail.

First, a disclaimer: the topics covered here are only a small portion of the lived experiences of people with infertility. In addition, those experiences are different for everyone. The information I have included here is from my own lived experience, as well as the lived experiences of those close to me, with infertility. But this doesn’t include everything. The world of infertility is vast and detailed. So let’s talk about just some of the more common experiences of those dealing with infertility. 

How it starts

A doctor showing the client their infertility results. There can be a lot to process about infertility and speaking with a therapist in Scotch Plains or Branchburg can be helpful.

Patients end up at fertility clinics for a few reasons. They may have been trying to get (or stay) pregnant on their own unsuccessfully. They could be an LGBTQIA+ couple who cannot get pregnant in the traditional way. Or they may be a single person trying to conceive on their own via donation.

Either way, by the time you’re at the fertility clinic, you know you’re going down a path that most people aren’t familiar with. You might feel uncertain, scared, excited, or maybe all three at the same time.

Before you reach the fertility clinic, you’ve already talked to one or more of your doctors, looked into

 insurance coverage, and searched available clinics. Although the internet is full of great resources, these steps are overwhelming, especially if you’re doing this for the first time. You also might be dealing with the reality that the family you dream of is going to require more work than the average person. And that’s just the beginning. According to the CDC, estimates of infertility can vary dramatically (7% to 30%) depending on the definition of infertility, age, and prior births.  These numbers are undoubtedly an underestimation as they presumably do not include social infertility, which would increase the number of individuals who may make use of fertility services.

Finances Determine Your Future Family

An outline of how financially draining healthcare and infertility treatments can be. The image outlines the different part of healthcare such as access, cost, and the quality of the care. Let a therapist in Scotch Plains or Branchburg give you access to good quality mental health care while you navigate this challenging time.

We can’t talk about fertility treatments without talking about inequalities in access to fertility treatments. We’ve all heard how expensive infertility can be. On the low end, there are medications your doctor can prescribe, along with timed intercourse, to improve chances of conceiving. Depending on your insurance plan, these medications can cost $30-150. On the high end, a full cycle of IVF is quite expensive. This is because a full cycle includes speciality medications, frequent appointments, surgical procedures, embryo storage, embryo transfer, and much more. Depending on your clinic, a full round of IVF costs $20,000-30,000. If you want to improve your chances of success, you can have your embryos sent out for genetic testing (called PGS/PGT-A testing). Depending on location and number of embryos, PGS/PGT-A testing can cost an extra $3,500-10,000.


The expense of fertility treatment is ultimately determined by your access to healthcare, steady income, opportunities for loans (so you better have good credit!) and much more. The financial commitment that infertility requires automatically eliminates a large part of the population from being able to access this treatment. Infertility treatment in and of itself is often only available to those belonging to the upper or upper-middle class.  This means that many folks (usually BIPOC and other minorities) do not have access to fertility treatment or adoption options at all. What does this mean for future generations and everyone’s ability to continue their bloodline?

If you’re privileged enough to choose fertility treatments out of pocket, those decisions have ripple effects when it comes to your future goals. You might still be paying off school debt. Maybe, you were hoping to buy a house in the next five years. Perhaps you were saving up for your dream honeymoon or a large retirement fund. Once infertility enters the chat, your wallet and your future goals look very different.

Physical changes

Even if you’ve never had infertility assessment or treatment, you might already have an idea about the physical demand of the process. Patients going through infertility are meeting with their doctor, getting assessments done, and trying to figure out how they can get (and stay) pregnant. Appointments with your fertility doctor and related assessments can be very invasive. If you’re someone who goes to the gynecologist, you know how uncomfortable it can be. You have to spread your legs and allow the doctor to examine your external and internal reproductive organs. These appointments require a great deal of physical vulnerability which is challenging for many. In addition, your partner may have to go through physical tests or assessments to complete the fertility puzzle. This could include providing a sperm sample, a full round of bloodwork, and perhaps their own physical examination(s).

Patients going through IUI (intrauterine insemination) or IVF (in vitro fertilization) are required to attend several appointments at the clinic each week. These appointments usually include getting blood drawn and getting a transvaginal ultrasound (which is when an ultrasound probe connected to a computer is inserted into the vagina and gently moved around to show different organs).

Hormonal Changes

The image describes different side effects of hormonal imbalance, including weight gain, insomnia, fatigue, mood swings, and more. Let a therapist in Scotch Plains or Branchburg, NJ help you manage the emotional toll of these side effects.

In addition, patients are prescribed medications and supplements in the form of oral pills and injections. These are taken daily during the beginning of the IVF process. As a result, the patient’s body is going through difficult hormonal changes. With this comes:

  • Weight gain and/or changes in appetite
  • Bruising and bleeding from injection sites and from frequent blood draws
  • Side effects such as tiredness, headaches, migraines, night sweats, and cramping
  • Schedule changes so that you can be at the clinic a few times a week
  • Putting all other plans aside (because the fertility clinic is only open certain hours)

Patients going through infertility also include those who got pregnant and lost the pregnancy. In those cases, the patient has watched their body adjust to early pregnancy, just to watch their body react to the loss of a pregnancy. People with a history of infertility and/ pregnancy loss will tell you that they’re anxiously waiting for something bad to happen. When they go to the bathroom, they check the toilet paper for blood and when they see their doctor, they brace themselves for bad news.

Managing Your Health

On top of these physical changes, infertility often comes with the idea that you’re “supposed” to be at your healthiest. Patients going through infertility often feel pressure to be mentally stable, physically healthy, and doing everything possible to improve their chances of fertility. They may even sense perceived or actual judgment on how they approach their wellness. Are you exhausted yet?

In part 2, we’ll talk about the emotional toll that infertility has on your mind, relationships, work, and more.

Begin Therapy with a Couples Therapist in Scotch Plains or Branchburg, NJ today!

Healing from infertility is hard. There are physical and emotional changes as well as financial stresses. The good thing is you don’t have to do it alone. Our couples therapists are on your team. We are available to help you begin healing from the trauma you’ve experienced at our NJ-based therapy practices in Scotch Plains, NJ and Branchburg, NJ. Or if you prefer, we can meet with you for online therapy in New Jersey. To get started, follow the steps below.

  1. Connect with us at Brave Minds Psychological Services.
  2. Meet with one of our couples therapists for a free consultation.
  3. Start healing.

Other Services Offered at Brave Minds Psychological Services

Other services offered at Brave Minds include counseling for postpartum concerns, couples therapy, and parent counseling. In addition to services for parents and couples, we offer services for adults with trauma and anxiety. We are proud to serve the areas of Westfield, New Providence, Fanwood, and Cranford. However, we also provide online therapy to anyone seeking services in New Jersey.

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