People all over the world, regardless of race or religion, tend to follow a natural cycle of life that involves meeting someone else, deciding that person is the one they want to spend the rest of their lives with and then getting together with them. At some point after that union, the next step is usually to think about starting a family. For many, this next step, while significant, is quite natural, with a well-established path laid out of conception, pregnancy, birth, and the start of a new family unit, raising a baby.
However, for others, this path may not be as easy or inevitable. Many couples, for reasons beyond their control, may find it difficult, or even impossible to naturally conceive and bear a child. Infertility, as it is generally called, refers to this inability to conceive, and there are many factors behind it. The father may have fertility issues, or the mother may have conditions affecting her fertility. In some cases, the infertility is not a result of the sperm or the egg being fertile, but the woman’s uterus itself being unable to sustain a fertilized egg safely.
The Psychological Cost
Sadly, an issue of infertility, while medical in nature, has consequences that go far beyond the physical. There is a definite psychological effect for any couple that has a wish to bear children but finds themselves medically unable to do so. This psychological cost can be both emotional and social, and unfortunately, these consequences may not always fade with time.
Despite not having the same drama or impact as a major accident or loss of life, infertility and the continuing failure to have a child can be a traumatic experience for a couple. It can exact a mental and emotional toll that will affect the couple in many different ways.
It should be no surprise that for any couple, there is a definite impact on the sense of self-esteem the couple may experience due to infertility. Having a child is, after all, regarded as one of the most natural steps a family can make, and the inability to do so may be viewed as unnatural, or, in even crueler terms, deficient. If normal couples can bear a child, then to be unable to do so, despite wanting to, is viewed as less than normal.
For the husband or the wife, this can have a major impact on the sense of self-worth, especially if the medical diagnosis implicates one or both. A man diagnosed as infertile struggles with issues of masculinity, while a woman diagnosed with the same may question her own femininity or motherhood.
The psychological effects of infertility are not confined strictly to private, personal moments. Infertility can affect the social life of a couple as well, sometimes even resulting in isolation from friends and family. As peers of the couple go on to start their own families, the couple seeing their own lack of progress in this dramatic contrast may have difficulty continuing to interact with friends and family.
This can be especially difficult once topics move inevitably to children, raising them, and the shared experiences of nurturing a family. It creates an awkward situation as the infertile couple doesn’t want to stop others from talking about these experiences on their account, yet at the same time, there is discomfort from the friends and family about discussing these topics since they can do nothing but cause anxiety for the childless couple.
As childlessness continues, this can have long-term, negative, corrosive effects on the mental health of a couple. The self-esteem and social anxiety issues may only magnify with time, creating more difficult personal and social situations. Chronic, ongoing depression is not an uncommon consequence arising from the anxiety of infertility. The effects of the depression may follow the classic symptoms, such as a lack of energy, loss of enthusiasm for life, and a general degradation in interests, hobbies and other activities, resulting in isolation and a prevailing negative attitude.
The basic issue is that while infertility may be a medical condition, it is often taken, both emotionally and psychologically as a failure. Failure of male or female duties, failure of family expectations, or even failure as a couple. Moreover, this type of long-term inadequacy can be haunting for a couple in profound, negative ways.
Surrogacy Can Help
However, solutions like adoption or surrogate motherhood can be important alternatives in helping to overcome these real, emotional issues. While not a fast or easy solution, surrogacy can be a way for a couple to enjoy taking the next step of having a child that is genetically and biologically “theirs” by allowing a surrogate mother to carry the child to term instead.
For people who are looking into surrogate motherhood as a solution, there are many experienced, professional organizations in countries like Georgia, to help. They can provide everything from the initial consultation to helping with organizing finances and even legal considerations.