Purpose: The objectives of this study were to compare average stress levels in infertile women to fertile women, to determine the stress levels whether the patients was pregnant or not pregnant, and to examine for a cross-section of infertile patients in different stages of medical investigation for the infertility.
Methods: One hundred thirty-eight women receiving medical treatment for infertility attended the program. The State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) of perceived stress associated with the infertility was the outcome measure.
Results: Infertile women showed significant increases in trait anxiety and depressive symptoms than the fertile women. Anxiety and depression in the in vitro fertilization (IVF)-failed women were significantly higher than the IVF-success women. According to the duration of infertility, STAI and BDI were moderately elevated in the first stage (< 3 year). There was a trend of a decreasing psychological stress with an advanced infertility duration. On depression scales, the intermediate and final duration of infertility patients showed less symptomatology than the first-stage patients. Contrary to the expectation, demographic factors such as religion and husband cooperation were not related to the experience of stress.
Conclusions: We must pay an attention to the infertile patient, especially from the initial infertility workup. We recommend psychological counselling for IVF-failed patients.