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Subfertility: Not Just A Biological Issue

By Dr Jay Natalwala (Clinical Director)

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Achieving parenthood is a life goal for many individuals and couples, and it fulfills many milestones in people’s lives and relationships. It positively impacts on self-esteem and provides a feeling of social acceptance amongst family and society. But for many people the journey to parenthood is not straightforward.



Infertility is a complex problem involving biological concerns, but also significant emotional and psychological aspects too. Patients who are unable to fall pregnant often suffer from a number of psychosocial issues, which may include:


  • Strain on a couple’s relationship, as the future they expected together is threatened, and patients feel they have failed to provide a family for their partner.
  • A sense of shame surrounding a perceived failure to fulfill a natural function of their masculinity/femininity.
  • Damaged self-confidence and a sense of low self-worth.
  • Feelings of isolation within their families and communities, as they watch siblings, cousins and friends having children and raising families. Indeed, in certain cultures infertility is considered a profound sense of failure.
  • The stress and anxiety around the outcomes of their treatment, particularly heightened during the waiting period for a pregnancy tests.
  • Stress and anxiety relating to time pressure - It is difficult, slow and sometimes embarrassing for couples to present to a fertility clinic for help. They have often tried for a pregnancy for some time, and possibly tried other avenues to improve fertility, and then presented to a family doctor who may or may not have been able to help them. Coupled with the fact that women are trying for their first child later in our society creates a sense of urgency to investigate and start treatment in a timely manner.


Fertility clinics have a responsibility to recognise these factors and maintain an awareness and compassion towards them when a patient comes through their doors.


Being sensitive to these needs is critical to us at Fertility North, so we manage each patient’s treatment on an individual basis, with an awareness of the confronting nature of discussing and treating such personal matters.


To assist us in treating our patients, we offer: accredited Fertility Counsellors on site; a system for patients to check in and talk with our Nursing and Embryology staff if queries or difficulties arise; and onsite yoga and acupuncture services for lifestyle and stress management - a service that is unique to our clinic.


If any of these issues resonate with you, please consider opening up and speaking with someone about your struggles.