27 Jun Do Anxiety and Depression Hinder IVF Success?
Anxiety is the most common mental condition in the United States. In 2014, New York Magazine named anxiety as the “signature diagnosis” of our time with Xanax being the pharmacological mascot. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), anxiety affects around 10% of the adult population. The anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety, panic disorder, separation anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. According to the World Health Organization, depression affects around 7% of adults in America, with women affected more than men.
Many women who try to conceive believe that their distress affects conception, and fertility centers emphasize a “stress free environment.” Many websites report that anxiety is associated with miscarriage and preterm birth. However, according to research reports, this is not the case. Women who are anxious and stressed before in vitro fertilization (IVF) are no less likely to conceive, according to a new study. However, if treatments fail, it can take a toll on their mental health. The results are based on the body of research conducted by The University of California San Francisco Center for Reproductive Health.
Lynch and associates conducted a study at the Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus found that the odds of success with IVF are not associated with the woman’s mental well-being. Researchers evaluated 339 women who were attempting to become pregnant naturally and found that 61% of them were able to conceive over a six-month interval.
Researchers also followed 202 women undergoing IVF at several San Francisco practices. The women answered standard questionnaires on anxiety and depression before their IVF attempts. The study found that women whose IVF treatment failed were at greater risk for depression or anxiety in the months that followed. In another study involving 103 women, 60% of those who failed IVF had symptoms of clinical anxiety disorder.
According to a lead expert, infertility practices should attempt to help women who suffer mental health symptoms even though it will not improve IVF success. Any psychological interventions should be aimed at improving the woman’s well-being rather than increasing chances of pregnancy.
In a multicenter study involving 783 Dutch women, the women completed a questionnaire to assess depression and anxiety symptoms 1-2 months before IVF treatment, as well as one day before treatment. Of these women, 421 were evaluated. Overall, depression and anxiety symptoms were not found to be related to conception odds. In addition, these mental health issues were unrelated to the cancellation rates.
In 2011, psychologist in England reviewed 14 in vitro fertilization studies where researchers inquired about anxiety, emotional distress, and depression. The women were followed through a single fertility treatment. These investigators found that the woman’s emotional state bore no relationship to whether the IVF cycle worked. Women who had depression and/or anxiety were just as likely to conceive with a single cycle of IVF than women without these diagnoses. Therefore, the old idea that stress causes spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) is not supported. However, in a large Danish study involving over 78,000 women, those who reported high levels of stress and emotional symptoms did tend to give birth earlier, but not enough to affect the infant.
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