Study reveals loneliness experienced by women trying to conceive

A new study has delved into the mental health struggles and loneliness women feel while trying to conceive (TTC) a baby over a long period of time.

In a new independent survey commissioned by eco pregnancy test company Hoopsy of 522 women who’ve been TTC for at least a year*, over one in three (35%) said they worry they will never become a mum.

It appears the older you are, the more isolated you feel on your fertility journey – with one in four (22%) women aged 18 to 24 TTC feeling alone, compared with two in five (38%) women in the 46 to 50 age bracket.

To demonstrate the day-to-day impact trying to conceive a baby is having, one in four (28%) women said they feel upset seeing pregnant women with bumps – and just under one in five (17%) have avoided places where babies will be or mums with prams. Just over one in 10 (13%) have admitted to completely avoiding friends with kids because they’re finding their fertility journey so difficult. One in four (28%) also say they think TTC is much harder on women’s mental health than it is on men’s.

The findings have been unveiled in a new report created by Hoopsy, Pregnant Pause, which also includes expert advice for women who’re on a long and difficult fertility journey, as well as tips for reducing feelings of anxiety. It coincides with the Hoopsy launching a unique free fertility community, designed as a space for women to share their journeys, ask for advice, and get access to talks and Q&As from a range of fertility and health experts.

33-year-old blogger and Instagrammer Rebecca Clayton who writes as @queenbeady, now has an eight month old girl – but a year into her TTC journey and after years of painful periods, it was found she had a dermoid cyst and endometriosis.

She said: “During our journey to having a baby, for a long time, I would go as far as saying that I went to a very sad and lonely place. I comfort ate and put on a lot of weight, I shied away from social events. I was angry and bitter at the world. I became essentially a shell of myself. Covid didn’t help with the loneliness as we had started trying before the lockdowns began.

“Seeing young families brought me to tears frequently, especially at Christmas time. Endless pregnancy announcements broke my heart every time I saw one. It hit a lot harder when it was close friends sharing their news. You wanted to be so happy for them, and you were, but once again you felt as though you were grieving for what you thought you couldn’t have.

“I think the Hoopsy community is just brilliant – such a wonderful resource for women who’re TTC. I wish something like this had existed when I was trying to conceive as I think it would have made a world of distance to how lonely I felt.”

Following her own difficult and lonely fertility journey, Lara Solomon decided to set up Hoopsy, which makes 99% paper pregnancy tests. While on her IVF journey, she joined several Facebook groups dedicated to IVF and TTC – and through this she realised the sheer number of pregnancy tests women who’re desperately trying to conceive use.

Lara commented: “When I went through my own TTC journey, I gravitated towards friends who I knew had done or were doing IVF to talk to about it, because I didn’t need to explain things – they just got it. It made me realise that a lot of people may not have a support network to lean on when they’re going through a difficult fertility journey.

“I set up the fertility community as a place for people to go to for support, to interact with others who are on or have been through the journey, to get help, expert advice and support at a time that can be exceptionally hard – both physically and emotionally. I also felt there wasn’t enough education out there on fertility for women – many women (myself included) got told not to get pregnant their entire young lives, as if it happened really easily or quickly, but in actual fact for the majority of women it isn’t like that.

“Having IVF doesn’t guarantee a baby and there are so many myths in the fertility space that I felt a real desire to set up a community where people could get advice from real experts – all completely for free.”

Confidence and resilience coach Gemma Margerison commented: “I think it’s important for anyone who is going through a fertility journey to remember that there is no right or wrong way to deal with the feelings that arise from this cycle, and the kindest thing you can do for yourself is to listen to your body and respond accordingly. If you need to take time away from certain situations, that’s ok. If you want to be around families and children, that’s ok too. Just remember, you are not alone so please do not struggle in silence; reach out to someone and get support.

“Groups like the Hoopsy community are great for connecting with other women who are going through a similar experience. This, alongside things like coaching, counselling, or training can help to build personal resilience.”

Hoopsy pregnancy tests are available in packs of three tests for £14.99, five tests for £22.99 or if you want to be really sure, 10 tests for £39.99. They’re available with free shipping at They are also available at Superdrug online – a three pack is £14.99. The Hoopsy Pregnant Pause report is available at