• This Morning's fertility expert Dr Larisa Corda has condensed her advice into her book The Conception Plan

  • Here she talks about why emotions and stress are so important to fertility

  • We have therapists who specialise in supporting couples with infertility – find the here

One dictionary definition of ‘fertile’ is capable of becoming a new individual. During the preparation for becoming a parent, not only are you getting ready to make a new individual, but you’re also changing and reshaping yourself. 

For some people, getting pregnant can appear magically simple. For others, this is not the case: hours spent monitoring ovulation, timing sex, going from scan to scan, injecting needles into themselves and waiting for test results. It can be both emotionally and physically overwhelming. You may feel powerless, losing confidence and even identity, and damaging your self-worth and your mental health in the process.

There is no denying the fact that trying to conceive may test you in the most challenging of ways. Even the ‘easiest’ of fertility journeys brings with it anxieties and difficulties. And struggling to have a baby can put you in touch with your deepest vulnerabilities. The loss of control can make everything in life feel precarious and overwhelming.

Any plan becomes provisional. Living in a state of anxiety, disorientation and constant change becomes the new normal.


Watch our interview with Dr Larisa Corda

Why are emotions important to fertility?

Whether it’s treating patients with infertility or managing a woman’s labour, I often learn a lot more about the patient from observation rather than from what they say. When I ask about feelings, relationships, previous experiences and emotions, this almost inevitably opens people up to reveal hidden fears, grief and pain, which can often be subconscious. It has become increasingly obvious to me that there are always multiple factors influencing how a woman or a man feels going into pregnancy and birth, and these can interfere with their ability to conceive, yet all too often they are completely missed by those of us in the medical profession.

But bigger than that, suppressed emotions are not innocuous. They influence a whole cascade of biological processes that create your chemical and hormonal environment, which ultimately impacts on your overall wellbeing and even your fertility, via epigenetics. 

Your brain is one of the most important reproductive organs, because it directly interacts with all the other organs and oversees their behaviour. Evidence is building about the impact of the mind and previous emotional experiences on many diseases, including endometriosis and chronic pelvic pain. Mental and emotional health matters, and fertility is a place where they matter significantly.

As a doctor, I’ve learned that when there is a greater appreciation of the emotional context of someone’s symptoms and presentation, this can lead to insights and breakthroughs in helping that person. Every case study in my book shares the emotional factors that affected the person’s overall state of health and fertility.

These invisible layers of old emotions and trauma may seem a million miles away from getting pregnant. But as Deepak Chopra states, we are not inside our minds, but our mind is inside us and in every single cell of our being.

Dr Larisa Corda is the author of The Conception Plan 


Further reading

How to talk to someone after a miscarriage

The psychological impact of infertility

Using breathwork to support your pregnancy

How to make an active pregnancy work for you and your baby

What new mums need to know