Love is a powerful emotion, but does it have any impact on fertility?
When you hear of devoted couples who struggle to conceive, or equally those whose relationships are at breaking point who seem to fall pregnant without much effort, it can be easy to dismiss love as a trivial matter in fertility.
But there is good evidence to suggest that love and romance can be powerful allies if you are trying to conceive.
Loving couples who are trying to get pregnant are better able to support each other if they encounter difficulties. While stress itself does not directly impact fertility, pressure to perform can have a negative effect by reducing the number of times a couple tries to conceive.
There has long been a belief that the stress of infertility and the process of fertility treatment was reflected in divorce rates. In fact, following a study published last year, it is now considered that the emotional challenges faced by couples needing fertility treatment is that it strengthens their relationship.
Research by Dr Mariana Martins into 40,000 couples going through fertility treatment over 16 years showed that there was no difference between their divorce rate and the divorce rate of a control group.
By sharing the experience and being forced to develop new communication and coping strategies however, couples can often emerge with a better relationship regardless of the outcome of their treatment.
Having more sex can improve fertility
Heterosexual couples who keep the spark alive and have sex often are likely to have a positive impact on the female partner’s fertility.
A study by Tierney Lorenz at the Kinsey Institute of Sex, Gender and Reproduction in Indiana found that where couples have sex more regularly, even during non-fertile times in the menstrual cycle, the female body keep itself primed by changing its immune system.
Typically your immune system exists to eliminate cells, bacteria and other organisms that are not native to your body. But that can mean that a woman’s immune system can attack sperm cells before they reach the egg.
By releasing more Type 2 helper T Cells and immunoglobulin antibodies - both of which help keep sperm safe - it means women who have regular sex are better prepared to conceive.