Psychosocial trends in couples prior to commencement of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment

Nirmala Kondaveeti, Joan Hamilton, Bonnie Maher, Colin Kirkham, Robert F Harrison, Edgar V Mocanu
Human Fertility: Journal of the British Fertility Society 2011, 14 (4): 218-23
Facing infertility and undergoing fertility treatment can create emotional turmoil in couples' lives. It is essential for fertility therapy providers to assess the coping and communication strategies of couples before treatment in order to provide appropriate support. We performed a two time point (year 2003 & year 2009) cross-sectional study of patients attending our services to undergo in vitro fertilisation. All couples attending the Human Assisted Reproduction Ireland Unit, a tertiary referral academic centre at the Rotunda Hospital, were requested to complete a psychosocial questionnaire before commencing the treatment. The questions assessed couples' understanding of their own infertility, family background and support, relationship traits and stress levels prior to commencing fertility treatment. A total of 180 patients participated in the study. Our findings showed that within a 6-year time span, couples' attitudes have changed significantly. Compared to 6 years ago, couples now have a better understanding of infertility and are seeking treatment quicker. Interestingly, we showed higher stress levels nowadays with fewer couples following routine stress management. We also identified specific gender differences in that women have a more open attitude in discussing infertility and seeking more support from friends and family compared to men.

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