Patients who seek infertility treatment often suffer from depression or anxiety but only a few seek proper medical help. This was the interference from a study which included 352 women and 274 men seen at one of five San Francisco-area fertility clinics. The participants were interviewed before starting the treatment, and 10-18 months after the treatment. 56.5% of the women and 32.1% of the men suffered from clinical depression, and 75.9% women and 60.6% men suffered from anxiety.
The research was published online on 11th August, 2016, in the journal of Fertility and Sterility which focuses on reproductive health. The results suggested that the risk of clinical depression or anxiety were higher in individuals who failed to conceive. Despite such high prevalence of a mental disease among those who suffered from infertility, only 26.7% of women and 24.1% of men pointed that their fertility clinic offered information on mental health services. 11.3% of men and 21% of women did eventually receive some mental health therapy.
The study’s lead researcher Lauri Pasch, PhD, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, remarked that the solution is for clinics to have a mental health professional present on site so that patients realize that the option for dealing with mental health is available and that it is a “normal” part of addressing infertility. “I think we need a change in the culture at fertility clinics where the focus is on getting pregnant, and treatment success rates,” Pasch told HealthDay. “We also need to address the question ‘How do we help patients through this?'”
But while the causes of infertility are mainly physiological, physical and emotional stress, infertility treatment combined with financial worries, medication side effects and possible adverse outcomes lead the individual into becoming an emotional wreck. A study of 488 American women who filled out a standard psychological questionnaire before undergoing a stress reduction program concluded that infertile women felt as anxious or depressed as those diagnosed with cancer, hypertension or recovering from a heart attack.