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Hum Reprod. 1998 Apr;13(4):1099-105.

Adjusting to life when assisted conception fails.

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Institute of Reproductive Medicine and Psychosomatics of Infertility, Vienna, Austria.


According to our basic (psychosomatic) tenet, every somatic problem has its emotional side; therefore, medical treatment and counselling are not separate but are interlinked and equally important. First interviews and interviews after failed assisted reproductive technology (ART) are held together in four person settings; the couple with two counsellors. The sessions last for approximately 1 h. The aim is to help patients escape the agonizing and distressing state in which they are kept by their foci (psychogenic aspects causing distress). Stress and iatrogenic factors are discussed and when patients are able to re-experience their suffering, many possible psychological effects on infertility and/or treatment failure are explored. If the patients consciously perceive these mechanisms of action, they will turn to their basic emotional needs and perspectives; approximately 30% of them will conceive later while approximately 20% opt for adoption. However, half of the patients take no positive action, neither giving up nor continuing with activities for a child. Nor do they seek counselling. The analysis of many of their reports argues in favour of an adaptive model for coping with reproductive failure.

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