Daily Health Headlines

Infertility Patients' Mental Health Problems Often Unaddressed

👤by Amy Norton 0 comments 🕔Thursday, August 11th, 2016

THURSDAY, Aug. 11, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- People undergoing fertility treatment often suffer symptoms of depression or anxiety, but few get any formal help, a new study suggests.

The study, which followed patients at five fertility clinics in California, found that more than half of women and one-third of men had clinical-level depression symptoms at some point. Even more -- 76 percent of women and 61 percent of men -- had symptoms of clinical anxiety.

Yet only about one-quarter of all patients said their fertility center had given them any information on mental health resources.

"It was very surprising to find that," said lead researcher Lauri Pasch, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco.

Many studies have found that infertility patients often feel distressed. And, Pasch said, professional groups have underscored the need for patients' emotional health to be addressed.

"It seems like we're doing a terrible job of it," Pasch said.

In the United States, about one in eight couples has trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy, according to Resolve: The National Infertility Association.

There are various treatment options for infertility -- from drugs that stimulate ovulation to in vitro fertilization. But it often takes more than one treatment cycle, and if patients are emotionally distressed, they may give up when they still have a shot at success, Pasch said.

That's one reason why clinics should pay attention to patients' mental health, she said.

Dr. Brooke Hodes-Wertz, of the NYU Langone Fertility Center in New York City, agreed that it's no secret that many infertility patients are emotionally distressed.

And it's routine for patients to be asked about any history of depression or anxiety before they start treatment, said Hodes-Wertz, who was not involved in the study.

But what happens after that, she said, varies from one fertility center to another.

Based on the current findings, "there's clearly room for improvement," Hodes-Wertz said.

The study included 352 women and 274 men seen at one of five San Francisco-area fertility clinics. The participants were interviewed before starting treatment, and again four, 10 and 18 months later.

Pasch's team found that most of the patients suffered from clinical-level depression or anxiety at some point during the study. And odds were higher for those who failed to conceive.

But only 27 percent of women and 24 percent of men said their fertility center had offered them information on mental health services. And those who'd suffered symptoms -- even prolonged bouts -- were no more likely to have received that kind of help.

Ultimately, 21 percent of women and 11 percent of men did receive some type of mental health therapy, the findings showed.

The patient interviews were done more than a decade ago, Hodes-Wertz pointed out. "Hopefully, we've made progress since then," she said.

But she also said the findings did not particularly surprise her. For one thing, she explained, there is a "big time crunch" during fertility clinic visits, which is a barrier to mental health evaluations.

Even if problems are recognized, Hodes-Wertz said, patients may not have the time for mental health therapy in addition to their fertility treatment.

And then there's cost, she added. Insurance plans often don't cover fertility treatment, so many patients are paying for it themselves and can't afford mental health therapy on top of that.

To Pasch, the solution is for clinics to have a mental health professional on site -- so that patients know it's available and a "normal" part of addressing infertility.

"I think we need a change in the culture at fertility clinics -- where the focus is on getting pregnant, and treatment success rates," Pasch said. "We also need to address the question, 'How do we help patients through this?' "

For now, she has advice for infertility patients who are feeling an emotional toll: Talk to your doctor and ask what kinds of services are available -- either at the clinic itself or in your community.

Pasch and her colleagues reported the findings in the July issue of the journal Fertility and Sterility.

Article Credits / Source

Amy Norton / HealthDay

Amy Norton wrote this story for HealthDay. HealthDay provides up to the minute breaking health news. Click here to view this full article from HealthDay.

SOURCES: Lauri Pasch, Ph.D., associate professor, psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco; Brooke Hodes-Wertz, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor, obstetrics and gynecology, NYU Langone Fertility Center, New York City; July 2016, Fertility and Sterility

View More Articles From Amy Norton 🌎View Article Website

Sponsored Product

Lunar Sleep for $1.95

Lunar Sleep for $1.95

People who have trouble sleeping typically have low levels of melatonin, so melatonin supplements seem like a logical fix for insomnia. There is a high demand for sleep aids, especially in the U.S. The National Health Interview Survey done in 2002, and again in 2007, found 1.6 million US adults were using complementary and alternative sleep aids for insomnia. Lunar Sleep was a top choice. Use Promo Code: Sleep2014 and only pay $1.95 S&H.

Get Lunar Sleep for $1.95

More Mental Health Articles

1 in 7 Young Teens Is a Stalking Victim: Survey

1 in 7 Young Teens Is a Stalking Victim: Survey0

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 23, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- About one out of seven children in 6th and 9th grades has been a victim of stalking, potentially boosting their risk of substance abuse, dating violence and other dangers, a new U.S. survey ...

Sexism Could Harm Men's Health: Study

Sexism Could Harm Men's Health: Study0

MONDAY, Nov. 21, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Men who have "playboy" attitudes and believe in power over women may face a higher risk for mental health trouble than men who don't, a broad new research review suggests. The finding on sexism, and ...

Troubled Preschoolers Not Getting Effective Treatment: Report

Troubled Preschoolers Not Getting Effective Treatment: Report0

MONDAY, Nov. 21, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Most preschoolers with mood, behavior and social disorders would benefit from non-drug therapies, but few receive this type of help, a leading group of U.S. pediatricians reports. As many as one in 10 ...

Violent Media Often Give Rise to Nightmares

Violent Media Often Give Rise to Nightmares0

TUESDAY, Nov. 22, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Watching violent movies before bed might drag some dark images into your dreams, giving you nightmares, a new study suggests. The study found that those who viewed violent media before bed were 13 ...

Teen 'Choking Game' Played Solo Points to Suicide Risks

Teen 'Choking Game' Played Solo Points to Suicide Risks0

MONDAY, Nov. 21, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- About 4 percent of U.S. teens surveyed admit to trying the "choking game" -- a potentially deadly game of temporary strangulation. And new research suggests that kids who "play" the game alone are much ...

View More Mental Health Articles


Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Mailing List

Subscribe to our mailing list to get the latest health news as it breaks!

Your information will not be shared with anyone!