Medical data suggests that 15% of couples in the United States experience infertility. Many turn to assisted reproductive technology (ART) to try to conceive a child. A recent study says those who undergo ART should be evaluated for mental and emotional distress as early in the process as possible.
Researchers at the University of South Carolina say there appears to be evidence that depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions affect outcomes for in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other forms of ART. Research indicates that many drugs used in fertility treatments can affect a person’s mental health.
Key takeaways from the research
The study urges couples who struggle with infertility to be evaluated early so they can receive the psychological support and treatment they need during the ART process. The study, published in The American Journal of Managed Care, cites these key points:
- Anxiety, emotional distress and depression rates are higher for those who experience infertility than for the general population.
- Mental health disorders may negatively affect ART outcomes.
- Medications used in ART can worsen psychiatric outcomes and symptoms.
- Many effective psychiatric treatments are available for depression and anxiety related to infertility.
Mental health screening is recommended for both women and men to identify and treat symptoms related to their infertility challenges. Researchers also note that some of their findings are controversial.
In addition to the physical challenges of infertility, many Minnesota couples also experience anxiety over numerous other issues related to the process, including the legal aspects of ART and third-party reproduction. Seeking guidance from an attorney specializing in assisted reproduction may help alleviate at least some of those concerns. A knowledgeable lawyer can address the complex issues associated so you can focus on your other physical and mental health needs.