Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting about 20% of the adult population. According to the Picture of woman experiencing anxiety around fertility Seattle WADSM-V, anxiety disorders are classified as excessive worry occuring more days than not for at least 6 months. It may be difficult to control the worry and it is accompanied by restlessness, feeling easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and/or sleep disturbance. The worry may even cause significant distress or impairment in social or occupational settings, and the mental disturbance is not due to physiological effects of a substance. 

Living with chronic anxiety can impact your nervous, digestive, immune, cardiovascular, immune, and endocrine systems. The primary endocrine system organs include the pituitary gland, thyroid gland, and ovaries/testes and is the system of focus concerning fertility. 

So, could your anxiety negatively impact your fertility?

Short answer, yes. 

Long answer, see below. There’s hope! 

Anxiety can have a significant impact on fertility, both directly and indirectly. Here’s how anxiety can affect fertility:

  • Hormonal Imbalance: Chronic stress and anxiety can disrupt the delicate balance of hormones involved in the reproductive process, such as cortisol, adrenaline, and gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). This hormonal imbalance can interfere with ovulation in women and sperm production in men, reducing the chances of conception.
  • Menstrual Irregularities: High levels of stress and anxiety can lead to irregular menstrual cycles or even amenorrhea (absence of menstruation) in women. Irregular ovulation makes it more challenging to predict fertile days and conceive.
  • Decreased Libido: Anxiety can dampen sexual desire and arousal, leading to decreased frequency of intercourse, which can reduce the likelihood of conception.
  • Impact on Sperm Quality: Stress and anxiety can affect sperm quality and quantity in men. High levels of stress hormones may lead to decreased sperm motility and morphology, making it more difficult for sperm to fertilize an egg.
  • Disruption of Reproductive Behavior: Anxiety can interfere with healthy lifestyle habits that support fertility, such as proper nutrition, regular exercise, and adequate sleep. Additionally, individuals experiencing anxiety may be more likely to engage in unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as smoking or excessive alcohol coCould your anxiety negatively impact your fertility?nsumption, which can further impair fertility.

Addressing anxiety and stress is crucial for optimizing fertility outcomes. Here are some strategies to manage anxiety while trying to conceive:

  • Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques: Practice mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, or yoga to reduce stress and promote relaxation. Research has shown that just 13 minutes of guided meditation a day for 8 weeks can restructure connections in the brain!
  • Counseling or Therapy: Talk therapy can help individuals cope with anxiety by exploring underlying triggers and developing coping strategies. 
  • Support Network: Lean on friends, family, or support groups for emotional support during the fertility journey.
  • Healthy Lifestyle Habits: Prioritize self-care activities, such as regular exercise, nutritious eating, adequate sleep, and avoiding excessive caffeine or alcohol intake. Consuming meals rich in omega fatty acids and b-vitamins are shown to decrease anxiety.
  • Limit Exposure to Stressors: Identify and minimize sources of stress in your life, whether they’re related to work, relationships, or other areas.
  • Professional Help: If anxiety significantly impacts your daily life or fertility journey, consider seeking help from a mental health professional, a naturopathic doctor, and an acupuncturist. Together they can provide holistic treatments focused on improving and maintaining positive mental health while restoring physical health. 

By addressing anxiety and adopting healthy coping strategies, individuals can improve their overall well-being and potentially enhance their fertility prospects. Remember to give yourself grace throughout your fertility journey. You’ll likely miss a day of supplements, splurge on a delicious dessert when you’re out with friends, or feel too tired to complete your daily meditation – that’s all okay! Tomorrow is a new day and tomorrow you can be better.

We’re here for you. Let us know how we can support your fertility journey. 


Dr Katie is a Naturopathic Physician at Glow Natural Health. She believes we are born with the strength and Photo of Dr Katie Ferree at Glow Natural Health Seattleability to heal ourselves when living within the laws of nature. In her free time, Dr. Katie enjoys going on roadtrips (31 states and counting!), seeing live music, spending time with her partner Joey, and finding fun ways to exercise like rollerblading and playing pickleball.