Distress Before Fertility Treatment Not Tied to Outcome

Likelihood of pregnancy not influenced by earlier depression or anxiety

FRIDAY, Feb. 25 (HealthDay News) -- The emotional distress some women experience prior to undergoing fertility treatment appears to have no bearing on the likelihood that the treatment will result in a successful pregnancy, according to a literature analysis published Feb. 23 in BMJ.

Jacky Boivin, Ph.D., of Cardiff University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of 14 studies with 3,583 infertile women undergoing fertility treatment to examine whether emotional distress in women prior to treatment has any impact on their ability to become pregnant after undergoing a cycle of assisted reproductive technology.

The researchers found that pretreatment distress (anxiety or depression) was not associated with the achievement of pregnancy after a cycle of assisted reproductive technology. Subgroup analyses according to previous experience of assisted reproductive technology were not significant; nor were composition of the not-pregnant group or timing of the emotional assessment. The researchers found that the effect size did not vary according to study quality, but a significant subgroup analysis on timing of pregnancy test, a contour enhanced funnel plot, and Egger's test indicated moderate publication bias.

"The findings of this meta-analysis should reassure women and doctors that emotional distress caused by fertility problems or other life events co-occurring with treatment will not compromise the chance of becoming pregnant," the authors write.

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