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Hum Reprod. 2009 Sep;24(9):2151-7. doi: 10.1093/humrep/dep177. Epub 2009 May 17.

Congruence of quality of life among infertile men and women: findings from a couple-based study.

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Post-Graduate Program in Medicine, Assisted Reproduction Service, Gynecology and Obstetrics Department, Rua Ramiro Barcelos 2400, Porto Alegre CEP 90300-050, Brazil.



It has been consistently demonstrated that infertility is associated with quality of life (QOL) impairments. Research to date has mostly focused on individual's reactions to infertility (mainly women), without an examination of how the partner is reacting to the same condition. The few studies that assessed QOL among couples did not use couple-based analyses, consequently not considering the intra-couple effects. The objectives of this study were to explore the congruence of QOL perception within infertile couples and to estimate the effect of depression levels on the congruence.


In total, 162 couples were interviewed in an assisted reproduction clinic cross-sectionally. Subjects completed a socio-demographic form, World Health Organization Quality of Life-BREF and the Beck Depression Inventory independently. The statistical strategy was guided to ensure that subjects would be explored within pairs at all times and not as independent groups. Paired t-tests were run, and Cohen's effect was estimated. Depression levels were controlled by linear multiple regressions and repeated-measures ANCOVAs.


Out of the five QOL domain scores, only two showed a significant discrepancy between partners (psychological and social relationship domains). Male depression was a significant predictor for all five QOL difference scores, whereas female depression was associated with three (overall, psychological and physical). Moreover, it was demonstrated that, except for the psychological domain and for the female depression on the physical domain, the load of depression as a predictor of the QOL difference scores was markedly low, accounting for not more than 7.5% of the variance of congruence between men's and women's QOL.


Our findings suggest that QOL scores do not differ markedly between spouses. Since QOL seemed similarly affected in both men and women, consideration might be given to offering interventions to them as a dyad. These results are not in line with the previous non-paired studies, and further investigations are required to address this dissimilarity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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