Patients' attitudes to medical and psychosocial aspects of care in fertility clinics: findings from the Copenhagen Multi-centre Psychosocial Infertility (COMPI) Research Programme

L Schmidt, B E Holstein, J Boivin, H Sångren, T Tjørnhøj-Thomsen, J Blaabjerg, F Hald, A Nyboe Andersen, P E Rasmussen
Human Reproduction 2003, 18 (3): 628-37

BACKGROUND: The aims were (i) to identify gender differences in motivations to seek assisted reproduction and gender differences in expectations about medical and psychosocial services and (ii) to examine factors that predict the perceived importance of, and intention to use, psychosocial services among infertile people.

METHODS: We conducted an epidemiological study based on questionnaires among all new couples attending five fertility clinics with a response rate of 80.0% and a total of 2250 patients.

RESULTS: The vast majority of both men and women considered a high level of medical information and patient-centred care as important. Fewer respondents (women 10.0-20.8%, men 4.1-8.9%) felt that professional psychosocial services were important and/or had the intention to use these services. The main predictor of perceived importance of patient-centred care and professional psychosocial services for both men and women was high infertility-related stress in the marital, personal and social domain.

CONCLUSIONS: A supportive attitude from medical staff and the provision of both medical and psychosocial information and support should be integral aspects of medical care in fertility clinics. Although only a minority of the participants perceived professional psychosocial services as important, they should be available for patients whose infertility causes them much strain, especially for patients whose marital relationship suffered much because of infertility.

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