Background: The study aim was to clarify the role of anxiety and depression on the outcome in assisted reproductive treatment. Previous studies on this topic have shown contradicting results, which may have been caused by population characteristics, the design of the study, or small sample sizes.
Methods: In a multicentre prospective study, 291 out of 359 (81%) consecutively invited women agreed to participate. Before down-regulation by means of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogues in a long IVF protocol, patients were asked to complete the Dutch version of the State and Trait Anxiety Inventory to measure anxiety, and the Dutch version of the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) to measure depression. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to analyse known predictors of pregnancy and psychological factors and their relationship with treatment outcome.
Results: A significant relationship was shown between baseline psychological factors and the probability to become pregnant after IVF/intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) treatment, controlling for other factors. State anxiety had a slightly stronger correlation (P = 0.01) with treatment outcome than depression (P = 0.03).
Conclusions: Pre-existing psychological factors are independently related to treatment outcome in IVF/ICSI, and should therefore be taken into account in patient counselling. Psychological factors may be improved by intervention, whereas demographic and gynaecological factors cannot. Future studies should be directed towards underlying mechanisms involved and the role of evidence-based distress reduction in order to improve treatment results.