Reproductive implications of psychological distress for couples undergoing IVF

Hayley S. Quant, Athena Zapantis, Michael Nihsen, Kris Bevilacqua, Sangita Jindal, Lubna Pal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Objective: To study implications of psychological distress on in vitro fertilization (IVF) outcome of an infertile couple. Methods: Prospective study in an academic infertility practice setting. Couples undergoing embryo transfer (ET) following IVF were offered participation. Female patient (n = 89) and partner (n = 77) completed questionnaires reflecting dysphoria (POMS) and pessimism (LOT) after undergoing ET. Relationship between dysphoria and pessimism and implications of individual and couple's psychological distress on IVF cycle parameters and outcomes were assessed using multivariable analyses. Results: Statistically significant correlations between dysphoria and pessimism were observed within the individual and between partners, (p < 0.01). Higher couple pessimism correlated with longer duration of controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH, p = 0.02); higher partner psychological distress related to lower fertilization rate (FR, p = 0.03). On adjusted analyses, partner's depression score was an independent predictor of reduced likelihood of clinical pregnancy (p = 0.03). Conclusions: Our data validate the concept of a "stressed couple". Adverse implications of a couple's psychological distress for gamete biology (longer duration of COH and lower FR with increasing distress) are suggested. Partner's depressive scores negatively correlated with IVF success. These findings suggest the importance of including partner's evaluation in studies that focus on effects of psychological stress on IVF outcome; future studies should examine whether interventions aimed at reducing psychological stress for the infertile couple may improve IVF cycle success.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1451-1458
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • Dysphoria
  • IVF
  • Infertility
  • LOT
  • Mood
  • POMS
  • Pessimism
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Genetics(clinical)


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