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Sample Essay on The Effects of Infertility on Couples

In the United States, infertility is a common problem affecting the lives of nearly 10 million people (“Infertility Defined,” 2017). Infertility is defined as “a disease of the reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse” (“Infertility Definitions and Terminology,” 2017, para. 2). Although various treatment methods exist to help infertile couples conceive a child, infertility has been shown to take a toll on the couple’s emotional health and financial health (Kroemeke and Kubicka, 2018). In exploring the effects infertility has on the lives of couples, this analysis will investigate how infertility affects the couple’s emotional health, relationship and financial status.

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Infertility has been shown to adversely affect the couple’s emotional well-being. According to Harvard University, infertility is positively correlated with both anxiety and depression (“The Psychological Impact of Infertility” 2009). However, Hasanpoor and Simbar (2015) further found that infertility often led couples to feel helpless, worthless and isolated. While infertility is a common problem affecting women throughout the world, Hasanpoor and Simbar further found that many couples struggling with infertility felt isolated in their endeavors. Harvard University produced similar findings in demonstrating that there is a lack of support given to couples going through infertility treatments. These findings suggest that the emotional turmoil couples experience may be amplified by the lack of social support given to this population.

In addition to affecting a couple’s emotional state, infertility has also been shown to impact their relationships. Kroemek and Kubicka (2018) found that the increased hormonal changes associated with infertility treatments and the stressors placed on the female adversely affected intimacy among couples. However, Peterson, Pirritano and Christensen (2008) further demonstrated that the couple’s coping skills played a role in influencing how infertility affected their relationship. Contrasting Kroemek and Kubicka’s findings, Peterson et. al. demonstrated that couples with positive coping skills were more likely to grow closer during infertility treatments. In conjunction, these findings suggest that the effect infertility treatments have on a couple’s relationship is heavily contingent on their coping skills.

Although infertility treatments may affect couples differently, the costs couples incur remains one of the greatest stressors associated with infertility (Peterson et. al., 2008). In exploring the costs of infertility treatments, Katz, Showstack and Smith (2011) found that the “median per-person costs ranged from $1,182 for medications only to $24,373 and $38,015 for IV and IVF donor egg groups” (p. 920). However, Katz et. al. further determined that many couples undergoing fertility treatments did not have the monetary resources needed to fund these treatments. In contrast, most used some type of funding offered by the fertility clinic. This finding suggests that the costs associated with infertility treatments may amplify the stressors couples experience.

Infertility is a common condition affecting millions of couples throughout the United States. Despite the commonality of infertility, the inability to conceive a child has been shown to adversely affect the couple’s emotional state. However, the extent that the couple’s relationship is negatively affected is heavily contingent on their coping skills. While some couples may grow closer during infertility treatments, others experience higher levels of conflict. Yet, in addition to the effects infertility treatments have on the couple’s emotional state and relationship, the costs of infertility treatments were another stressor couples endured. In conjunction, these findings suggest that infertility can be an emotional and financial stressor may couples endure.


Hasanpoor S., Simbar M. (2014) The emotional-psychological consequence of infertility among infertile women seeking treatment: Results of a qualitative study. Journal of Reproductive Medicine, 12(2), 131-138.

“Infertility Defined,” (2017) Retrieved from:

“Infertility Definition and Terms,” (2017) Retrieved from:

Katz P., Showstack J., Smith J.E. (2011) Cost of infertility treatment: Result from an 18-month prospective cohort study. Journal of Fertility and Sterility, 95(1), 915-921.

Kroemeke A., Kubicka E. (2018) Positive and negative adjustment in couples undergoing infertility treatment: The impact of support exchange. PLoS One, 13(16), 12-21.

Peterson B.D., Pirritano M., Christensen L. (2008) The impact of partner coping in couples experiencing infertility. Human Reproduction, 23(5), 1128-1137.

“The Psychological Impact of Infertility,” (2009) Retrieved from: infertility-and-its-treatment

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