Infertility imposes a psychological burden on many couples. Depression and anxiety have been demonstrated in ~40% of infertile women, which is twice that of fertile women. Further, the psychological burden associated with infertility treatment has been cited as a major factor for discontinuation of infertility care.
STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION:
Prospective, observational study in a clinical-based cohort of 416 women who completed a questionnaire after the new patient visit, from January 2013 until December 2014 inclusive.
PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS:
All new female infertility patients (n = 959) seen between January 2013 and December 2014 at University of North Carolina Fertility received an electronic questionnaire to screen for mental health disorders and to evaluate their perception of mental health disorders on infertility.
MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE:
Of 959 surveys sent, 416 women completed the questionnaire (43%). The prevalence screening positive for depression, using the NIH PROMIS screening tool, was 41%. Sixty-two percent of all women initiated infertility treatment, and of these, 81% did so within 4 months. In multivariate analysis, women who screened positive for depression had 0.55 times the odds of initiating treatment for infertility (95% CI: 0.31-0.95). Similarly, women who screened positive for depression had 0.58 times the odds of initiating infertility treatment within 4 months (95% CI: 0.35-0.97), which was the time of censoring from the most recent patient evaluated. Women who screened positive for depression were less likely to pursue treatment with oral medications or IVF (P = 0.01 and P = 0.03, respectively), as compared to women who did not screen positive for depression.
LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION:
Questionnaire-based evaluations may result in a lower prevalence of psychological disorder as some participants feign emotional well-being. Although we did not identify differences in women who responded to our survey and those who did not, responder bias may still be present. In addition, infertility is a couple’s disease. However, this study only included psychological evaluation of the female partner. We have no information about the women’s previous treatment.
WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS:
Screening for depression is important in the infertility patient population, as further evaluation and psychological interventions may improve compliance with fertility treatments, quality of life, and potentially, the overall chance of pregnancy.
Source: Human Reproduction.
Author: Crawford, N. M., Hoff, H. S., & Mersereau, J. E. (2017).https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28073974