Top 10 causes of psychological infertility

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In Russia, about 15% of women cannot get pregnant and give birth to a child. According to many experts, psychological factors – fears, worries, stress – play an important role in the development of female infertility. Let’s see what psychological infertility is and what causes it.

What is psychological infertility?

Psychological infertility is the inability of a woman to become pregnant due to psychological problems. Emotional stress, fears of various etiologies negatively affect the functioning of the reproductive system, and even can completely block its work.

Of course, in most cases, infertility is due to physiological factors – hormonal disruptions, inflammatory processes, malformations of the genital organs. However, in 10-20% of cases, patients are diagnosed with “infertility of unknown origin”. This diagnosis means that no physical abnormality was found as a result of a thorough medical examination.

It is the diagnosis of “infertility of unknown origin” that is most often the psychological infertility. Psychological infertility can be the result of internal conflicts, barriers, unfounded fears, and dysfunctional family history. And since it has long been proven that the human psyche and physiology are a single system, you should not be surprised that infertility can be caused by psychological problems.

Such a diagnosis as “psychological infertility” in different sources may sound differently:

  • psychogenic infertility;
  • ideomotor infertility;
  • functional infertility.

However, it is not so important what the diagnosis is called. It is much more important to understand its causes.

Why does psychological infertility occur?

Let’s take a look at the top 10 causes of psychological infertility.

The first reason is a woman’s unpreparedness for motherhood, fear of pregnancy, childbirth

The first thing a perinatal psychologist does when a woman with infertility comes to him is to find out the degree of her readiness for motherhood. And very often it turns out that a woman is simply not ready to become a mother. She does not know how to communicate with the baby, she is afraid that she will not be able to raise the child and give him all the best. Also, a woman may worry about what will happen to her career, material well-being after childbirth. It is the woman’s unpreparedness for motherhood that is the main cause of psychological infertility.

In addition, fears associated with pregnancy and childbirth can become the causes of psychological infertility:

  1. Fear of the very period of bearing a child. A woman does not know what awaits her during pregnancy, how she will look and feel.
  2. Fear of pain during delivery, the consequences of childbirth.

The second reason is excessive expectation of pregnancy.

Psychogenic infertility can occur if you are overly expecting a pregnancy , constantly thinking about it. In such a situation, the emotional stress is so great that it is transmitted to your body. In fact, you are constantly under stress. And stress is always a combination of psychological and physical reactions of the body.

It often happens that a married couple takes a foster child into the family, and after a while the woman has a long-awaited pregnancy. This is due to the fact that after the birth of a child in the family, a woman ceases to constantly wait for pregnancy and gets out of a state of stress.

The third reason is strained relations between spouses.

Psychogenic infertility can cause difficulties in the family, strained relations between spouses. For example, if a woman does not have the opportunity to express her emotions, to speak aloud about her feelings and experiences, then she undergoes changes at the somatic level. The female body ceases to perceive male cells, and pregnancy does not occur.

In such a situation, the couple needs the help of a family psychologist who will explain how to express their feelings and communicate more openly with each other.

The fourth reason is that the place of the unborn child is taken by other children.

Psychological infertility can occur if the place of the unborn child is already occupied by someone. For example, it can be younger sisters, brothers, nephews, children of acquaintances. In such a situation, a woman gives all her love, attention, care to another little man, and she has no psychological need for her own child.

Fifth reason – unsuccessful previous pregnancy

An unsuccessful previous pregnancy can be the cause of psychological infertility. For example, if a woman had an ectopic, pregnancy or miscarriage, then she may think for a long time and be sad about the lost baby. In such a situation, a potential pregnancy cannot occur, because there is no place in the body and soul of a woman for a new child.

The sixth reason is the desire to get pregnant at any cost

Sometimes a woman’s desire to get pregnant turns into an obsession, mania, and she begins to control the entire physiological process of conception from start to finish. As a result, an intimate relationship with a spouse begins to resemble a medical procedure.

Constant emotional stress during intimacy works as a stress factor. The female body begins to resist the process of conception, and pregnancy does not occur.

The seventh reason is the fear of responsibility for the unborn baby.

The fear of responsibility for someone is formed in childhood. The fear of responsibility can arise in a woman who is the eldest child in a family and too often fulfilled the duties of adults in childhood. For example, she fed, dressed her younger brothers / sisters.

If in childhood you did not cope with the responsibilities assigned to you, and your parents criticized you for mistakes, then the fear of responsibility for another person may remain for the rest of your life. Thus, in adulthood, it can develop into a fear of responsibility for the unborn child.

Eighth Reason – Negative Mother-Daughter Experience

A woman’s attitude to motherhood is also formed in childhood. The mother-daughter relationship that was in your family is clearly fixed on a subconscious level for life. Therefore, it is very important what example of motherhood your mother showed you in childhood, how her relationship with you and other children developed.

A woman may have a negative attitude towards motherhood if her mother often told her about her difficult pregnancy and childbirth.

The ninth reason is the perception of the future baby as a competitor.

The reason for infertility can be the perception by potential parents of the future baby as a competitor. For love, attention, care … In such a situation, your body will resist the process of conception, and pregnancy will not occur.

The tenth reason is emotional and physical exhaustion

Conception can be difficult if potential parents are emotionally and physically exhausted. With an excessive load on psychophysiology, chronic stress arises, which leads to hormonal disruption and infertility.


Any woman planning motherhood needs to explore herself, her feelings, attitudes associated with pregnancy. This is especially important when it is not possible to become pregnant.

If you do not have physical health problems, but the long-awaited pregnancy does not occur, then you should contact a clinical or perinatal psychologist. A specialist will help you find out and eliminate the reasons that complicate the onset of pregnancy. Practice shows that the fastest way to get rid of infertility is women who solve the problem in a complex way: they visit a reproductive specialist, an obstetrician-gynecologist, a perinatal psychologist.


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