Fear of treatment puts stress on women undergoing fertility therapy

October 3, 2012
Fear of treatment puts stress on women undergoing fertility therapy. Credit: Tahe Fertilidad

Fertility treatment has a strong emotional impact on women who want to have children. A study of European countries with the highest number of assisted reproduction cycles identifies which aspects of reproduction treatment contribute to psychological stress.

Inability to conceive is extremely stressful for women who want to have a family. This notion is shown by a study published in the Human Reproduction journal on patients in four countries with the highest number of cases of cycles in Europe: France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

"Infertility causes a series of varied emotions that have a on important aspects of a woman's life," as explained to SINC by Juan García Velasco, one of the authors of the study, who is also director of the Infertility Institute of Valencia and lecturer in at the Rey Juan Carlos de Madrid University. "It is linked to depression, anxiety, anger, cognitive imbalance and low self-esteem," he adds.

The study not only analyses the of infertility on women but also identifies those aspects of stimulation that contribute to the physical and suffered by many patients.

The 445 women between the ages of 18 and 44 years taking part in the study had experienced difficulties in conceiving. While some had never undergone any , others were receiving it at the time or had already received it in the past two years. Almost a third of the participants said they began to worry from the moment in which they started trying to get pregnant and nearly half claimed to have felt ashamed or like a failure as a woman.

It was found that anxiety toward injections and the of their relationship with their partner were the main causes of stress. In this respect, the women who actually received treatment said that they got closer to their partner (33% compared to 19%). The majority of participants felt that their partner supported them, especially those that received fertility therapy (63%).

Women undergoing treatment said they were more anxious when it comes to sex and negative emotions, such as impatience or frustration. Whereas those not having treatment said they felt "confused" and those undergoing treatment claimed to mostly feel "vulnerable and exhausted".

Despite being aware of the limitations of age, 68% never thought they would have a problem conceiving. According to García Velasco, "in order to overcome the physical and psychological challenges that such treatment implies, some form of protocol would be necessary that involves a minimal number of injections and an increase in readily available information in order to reduce stress and increase patient satisfaction."

Waiting two years to start treatment

García Velasco outlines that " can significantly affect women's lives and their personal relationships." "However, despite its negative impact, many of those women trying to conceive do not seek medical help."

The reason why women wait for an average of two years before starting treatment is that they want to wait to see if they can conceive naturally. The authors believe that this waiting period causes anxiety and regret and almost 58% of participants feel that they waited too long.

The author concludes, "these results show the need to educate women to eradicate fear and better prepare them for the demands of treatment and its associated emotional effects."

Explore further: ‘Infertile’ women may just need longer to conceive

More information: Alice Domar, Keith Gordon, Juan Garcia-Velasco, Antonio La Marca, Paul Barriere, Fabiola Beligotti. "Understanding the perceptions of and emotional barriers to infertility treatment: a survey in four European countries". Human Reproduction, Vol.27, No.4 pp. 1073, 2012

Related Stories

‘Infertile’ women may just need longer to conceive

February 20, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- One-in-four women with a history of infertility can still end up having a baby without treatment, a new study from The University of Queensland (UQ) shows.

Mind/body program increases pregnancy rates in IVF treatment

May 9, 2011
There is no doubt that undergoing infertility treatment is stressful, with high rates of anxiety and depression reported by many patients. Mind/body therapies designed to help women reduce stress earlier in the treatment ...

Recommended for you

New shoe makes running 4 percent easier, 2-hour marathon possible, study shows

November 17, 2017
Eleven days after Boulder-born Shalane Flanagan won the New York City Marathon in new state-of-the-art racing flats known as "4%s," University of Colorado Boulder researchers have published the study that inspired the shoes' ...

Vaping while pregnant could cause craniofacial birth defects, study shows

November 16, 2017
Using e-cigarettes during pregnancy could cause birth defects of the oral cavity and face, according to a recent Virginia Commonwealth University study.

Study: For older women, every movement matters

November 16, 2017
Folding your laundry or doing the dishes might not be the most enjoyable parts of your day. But simple activities like these may help prolong your life, according to the findings of a new study in older women led by the University ...

When vegetables are closer in price to chips, people eat healthier, study finds

November 16, 2017
When healthier food, like vegetables and dairy products, is pricier compared to unhealthy items, like salty snacks and sugary sweets, Americans are significantly less likely to have a high-quality diet, a new Drexel University ...

Children's exposure to secondhand smoke may be vastly underestimated by parents

November 15, 2017
Four out of 10 children in the US are exposed to secondhand smoke, according to the American Heart Association. A new Tel Aviv University study suggests that parents who smoke mistakenly rely on their own physical senses ...

Serious health risks associated with energy drinks

November 15, 2017
A new review of current scientific knowledge on energy drinks finds their advertised short-term benefits can be outweighed by serious health risks—which include risk-seeking behavior, mental health problems, increased blood ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.