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Fertil Steril. 2011 Feb;95(2):711-6.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2010.10.004. Epub 2010 Nov 5.

A cross-sectional cohort study of infertile women awaiting oocyte donation: the emotional, sexual, and quality-of-life impact.

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Department of Psychiatry, Gynecology Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York 10065, USA.



To examine the emotional, sexual, physical, and quality-of-life (QOL) impact on infertile women awaiting oocyte donation.


Cross-sectional cohort study.


Cancer center and reproductive medicine center.


Fifty infertile women awaiting oocyte donation, enrolled from October 2006 to February 2009.


Woman awaiting oocyte donation completed a one-time survey of empirical measures and exploratory items.


Reproductive concerns, depression, sexual function, distress, menopausal symptoms, physical and mental health, and relationship satisfaction.


Of the participants, 33% were clinically depressed (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale), and 59% had high levels of distress (Impact of Events Scale). The cohort's mean Female Sexual Function Index score (24.09) was below the cutoff value (26.55), indicating sexual dysfunction. Relationship satisfaction (Abbreviated Dyadic Adjustment Scale) scores were comparable to the population norm. Patients had good physical QOL but below average mental QOL (Medical Outcomes SF-12 Health Survey). Sixty-four percent were concerned about long-term effects of treatment, although 94% were grateful for reproductive assistance options and described parenthood as providing enrichment, happiness, and meaning to their lives.


Infertility can negatively impact sexual function, QOL, and emotional well-being. Quantitative empirical measures and qualitative data have shown that these women experienced and recognized the emotional toll of reproductive assistance. Despite concerns about the long-term effects of treatment, participants were grateful for this third-party parenting option.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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