Psychoanalysis and infertility. Myths and realities

Int J Psychoanal. 2002 Feb;83(Pt 1):85-104. doi: 10.1516/0020757021601702.


Psychoanalysis, long interested in infertility, and a valuable treatment for men and women suffering with this affliction, has also helped to create and support a myth of psychogenic infertility. Multiple causes of infertility exist across the physiological-psychological spectrum. There is no simple psychodynamic causality. Advances in assisted reproductive technologies provide treatments that create emotional stress and outpace psychological preparedness of patients and analysts. This paper is based on the experience of a unique study group in Boston. An analytic case illustrates some of the ways analysis can be a treatment of choice for people using assisted reproduction. In fact, analysis offers a unique opportunity to elaborate fully the complex realities and dilemmas faced by people and their therapists throughout the infertility experience. More generally, this study of the concept of psychogenic infertility explores a valuable role for psychoanalysis in the treatment of medical conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / psychology*
  • Infertility, Female / therapy*
  • Infertility, Male / psychology*
  • Infertility, Male / therapy*
  • Male
  • Psychoanalytic Therapy / methods*