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      Health-related quality of life in infertile couples receiving IVF or ICSI treatment

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          Infertile couples might experience psychological distress and suffer from impaired health-related quality of life. This study aimed to examine health-related quality of life in infertile couples receiving either in-vitro fertilization (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) treatment.


          This was a cross-sectional study of quality of life in infertile couples attending to Vali-e-Asr Reproductive Health Research Center or Royan Institute for either IVF or ICSI treatment in Tehran, Iran. Health-related quality of life was assessed using the Short Form Health Survey (SF-36). Patients' demographic and clinical characteristics were also recorded. Data were analyzed to compare quality of life in infertile women and men and to indicate what variables predict quality of life in infertile couples.


          In all 514 women and 514 men (n = 1028) were studied. There were significant differences between women and men indicating that male patients had a better health-related quality of life. Also health-related quality of life was found to be better in infertility due to male factor. Performing logistic regression analysis it was found that female gender, and lower educational level were significant predictors of poorer physical health-related quality of life. For mental health-related quality of life in addition to female gender and lower educational level, younger age also was found to be a significant predictor of poorer condition. No significant results were observed for infertility duration or causes of infertility either for physical or mental health-related quality of life.


          The findings suggest that infertility duration or causes of infertility do not have significant effects on health-related quality of life in infertile couples. However, infertile couples, especially less educated younger women, are at risk of a sub-optimal health-related quality of life and they should be provided help and support in order to improve their health-related quality of life.

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          Most cited references 19

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          Infertility and psychological distress: a critical review of the literature.

          This essay reviews the literature on the social psychological impact of infertility, paying special attention to the relationship between gender and the infertility experience. It is convenient to divide the literature into articles which explore the possibility that infertility may have psychological causes (Psychogenic Hypothesis) and those which examine the psychological consequences of infertility (Psychological Consequences Hypothesis). The psychogenic hypothesis is now rejected by most researchers, but a related hypothesis, which states that stress may be a causal factor in infertility, is worthy of exploration. The descriptive literature on the psychological consequences of infertility presents infertility as a devastating experience, especially for women. Attempts to test the psychological consequences hypothesis have produced more equivocal results. In general, studies which look for psychopathology have not found significant differences between the infertile and others. Studies which employ measures of stress and self-esteem have found significant differences. The psychological consequences literature is characterized by a number of flaws, including over sampling of women, small sample size, non-representative samples, failure to study those who have not sought treatment, primitive statistical techniques, and an over-reliance on self-reports. Studies on infertility and psychological distress need to take into consideration both the duration of infertility and the duration of treatment. Finding an appropriate set of "controls" is a particularly intractable problem for this area of research. In general, the psychological distress literature shows little regard for the social construction of infertility. By taking what should be understood as a characteristic of a social situation and transforming it into an individual trait, the literature presents what is essentially a medical model of the psycho-social impact of infertility. Most researchers conclude that infertility is a more stressful experience for women than it is for men. Most studies have found that the relationship between gender and infertility distress is not affected by which partner has the reproductive impairment. Future research needs to be better informed by theoretical considerations. Scholars need to pay more attention to the way the experience of infertility is conditioned by social structural realities. New ways need to be developed for better taking into account the processual nature of the infertility experience. Efforts need to be make to include under-studied portions of the infertile population. Finally, more effort needs to be made to better integrate the empirical study of the experience of infertility with important social policy questions.
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            Prevalence of depressive and anxiety disorders in an assisted reproductive technique clinic.

            Little is known about the prevalence of specific depressive and anxiety disorders in women before a new course of assisted reproductive technology treatment. Few studies have adopted the proper psychiatric diagnostic procedures. All consecutive women visiting the assisted reproduction clinic of a university-affiliated medical centre, with the intention of starting a new assisted reproduction treatment course, were recruited. A psychiatrist made a diagnosis of psychiatric disorders using a structured interview, the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI). Of a total of 112 participants, 40.2% had a psychiatric disorder. The most common diagnosis was generalized anxiety disorder (23.2%), followed by major depressive disorder (17.0%), and dysthymic disorder (9.8%). Participants with a psychiatric morbidity did not differ from those without in terms of age, education, income, or years of infertility. Women with a history of previous assisted reproduction treatment did not differ from those without in depression or anxiety. Depressive and anxiety disorders were highly prevalent among women who visited an assisted reproduction clinic for a new course of the treatment. Demographic features and a history of previous assisted reproduction treatment were not risk factors for these psychiatric morbidities in the assisted reproduction clinic.
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              Sexual function and quality of life in the male partner of infertile couples: prevalence and correlates of dysfunction.

              We prospectively collected data on mental and physical health related quality of life as well as sexual and relationship function in couples presenting for the treatment of infertility. Infertile couples were invited to complete a demographic survey, the Short Form 36 and the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Inventory. Male partners completed the International Index of Erectile Function and the Self-Esteem and Relationship Quality scale. Female partners completed the Female Sexual Function Index and a version of the Self-Esteem and Relationship Quality Scale modified for women. Multiple regression analysis was conducted to assess for associations between partner responses. A total of 121 couples were enrolled at 2 sites. Male partners reported significantly lower standardized scores on the Mental Health subscale of the Short Form 36 (mean 47.6, p <0.05) compared to normative values. Of the men surveyed 11% and 12% reported moderate or severe depression, respectively. There were 18% who had mild erectile dysfunction and 4% had moderate erectile dysfunction. The mean transformed score for the Self-Esteem and Relationship Quality Scale in our subjects was 29.44 (range 0 to 100). In multivariate analysis white race and partner Female Sexual Function Index score were significant predictors of International Index of Erectile Function Erectile Function Domain scores (p <0.01). Relationship duration and partner Self-Esteem and Relationship Quality Scale scores were significantly associated with male Self-Esteem and Relationship Quality Scale score on multivariate analysis. Depression, erectile dysfunction and sexual relationship problems are prevalent among male partners of infertile couples. Partner sexual function is a significant predictor of male partner sexual function. Relationship duration and female partner assessment of relationship health are predictive of men's assessment of their relationship status.

                Author and article information

                BMC Health Serv Res
                BMC Health Services Research
                BioMed Central
                19 September 2008
                : 8
                : 186
                [1 ]Vali-e-Asr Reproductive Health Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
                [2 ]Iranian Institute for Health Sciences Research, Tehran, Iran
                [3 ]Public Health and Health Policy, Division of Community-Based Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland, UK
                [4 ]Royan Institute, Tehran, Iran
                Copyright © 2008 Rashidi et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Research Article

                Health & Social care


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