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Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 2007 Apr;21(2):293-308. Epub 2007 Jan 22.

Psychological impact of infertility.

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Domar Center for Complementary Healthcare, Boston IVF, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, 130 Second Avenue, Waltham, Massachusetts 02451, USA.


The inability to conceive children is experienced as a stressful situation by individuals and couples all around the world. The consequences of infertility are manifold and can include societal repercussions and personal suffering. Advances in assisted reproductive technologies, such as IVF, can offer hope to many couples where treatment is available, although barriers exist in terms of medical coverage and affordability. The medicalization of infertility has unwittingly led to a disregard for the emotional responses that couples experience, which include distress, loss of control, stigmatization, and a disruption in the developmental trajectory of adulthood. Evidence is emerging of an association between stress of fertility treatment and patient drop-out and pregnancy rates. Fortunately, psychological interventions, especially those emphasizing stress management and coping-skills training, have been shown to have beneficial effects for infertility patients. Further research is needed to understand the association between distress and fertility outcome, as well as effective psychosocial interventions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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