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ENGLEMED HEALTH NEWS - 2/2/09

Negative emotions do not affect IVF success

Monday February 2nd, 2009

Women who suffer from anxiety and depression do not have a lower rate of success when undergoing in vitro fertilisation (IVF). They are also no more likely to drop out of treatment, new research suggests.

Dr Bea Lintsen of Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre in the Netherlands, and colleagues, explain that the impact of psychological distress on IVF treatment outcome remains unclear.

Although fertility problems can often lead to feelings of stress, and it is widely believed that this may affect the chance of becoming pregnant, previous research has not reached a reliable conclusion.

The researchers investigated the effects of anxiety and depression before and during IVF or Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) treatment, using established psychological questionnaires. The 421 patients were having fertility treatment for the first time.

Analysis showed that neither factor, at any time, affected pregnancy rates or cancellation rates. In the journal Human Reproduction, the authors write that the emotional impact of IVF treatment should not be underestimated. But they state that IVF patients "can be reassured that anxiety and depression levels before and during treatment have no significant influence on the cancellation and pregnancy rates."

They add that the most important reasons for cancellation are usually medical - ovarian hyperstimulation, or the opposite, poor ovarian response.

However, they recommend that women who are susceptible to, or have developed, emotional problems after unsuccessful IVF treatment are offered support and counselling. Further research must be done to investigate the role of factors such as lifestyle and sexual behaviour on the link between emotions and fertility, they add.

Lintsen, A. M. E. et al. Anxiety and depression have no influence on the cancellation and pregnancy rates of a first IVF or ICSI treatment. Human Reproduction, published online January 29, 2008.

Tags: Childbirth and Pregnancy | Europe | Mental Health | Women’s Health & Gynaecology

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