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Infertility-related stress, anxiety and ovarian stimulation: can couples be reassured about the effects of psychological factors on biological responses to assisted reproductive technology?

By Z. Donarelli, G. LO COCO, S. Gullo, A. Marino, A. Volpes, L. Salerno and A. Allegra


The aim of this prospective, longitudinal study was to examine the association between couples\u2019 pre-treatment psychological characteristics (state anxiety and infertility-related stress levels of both partners) and ovarian response during assisted reproductive technology treatment in a well-controlled sample. A total of 217 heterosexual couples (434 patients), suffering from primary infertility and undergoing their first assisted reproductive technology treatment at the Reproductive Medicine Unit of ANDROS Day Surgery Clinic in Palermo (Italy), were recruited. Psychological variables were assessed using the State Scale of State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI-S) and the Fertility Problem Inventory (FPI). The number of follicles 65\ua016 mm in diameter, evaluated by transvaginal ultrasound scan on the eleventh day of the workup, was chosen as the outcome measure. No association between women's level of anxiety and infertility-related stress, and the number of follicles 65\ua016 mm in diameter was found. Moreover, the male partner's infertility stress and anxiety did not influence the relationship between the woman's infertility-related stress, anxiety level and ovarian response. Fertility staff should reassure couples that the woman's biological response to ovarian stimulation is not influenced by either partner's level of psychological distress

Topics: anxiety effects, assisted reproductive technology outcome, infertility-related stress, ovarian response, Health (social science), Cultural Studies, Reproductive Medicine, Developmental Biology
Publisher: 'Elsevier BV'
Year: 2016
DOI identifier: 10.1016/j.rbms.2016.10.001
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