The prevalence and predictability of depression in infertile women

Fertil Steril. 1992 Dec;58(6):1158-63.


Objective: To determine the prevalence, severity, and predictability of depression in infertile women compared with a control sample of healthy women.

Design: Subjects were assessed while waiting to see their physician: infertility patients before a visit with an infertility specialist and control subjects before seeing either a gynecologist or internist for a routine gynecological examination. Subjects completed a demographic form and two depression scales.

Setting: A group infertility practice affiliated with an academic medical center, a hospital-based gynecology practice, and a health maintenance organization internal medicine clinic.

Participants: 338 infertile women and 39 healthy women.

Interventions: None.

Main outcome measures: The Beck Depression Inventory and the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale.

Results: The infertile women had significantly higher depression scores and twice the prevalence of depression than the controls; women with a 2- to 3-year history of infertility had significantly higher depression scores compared with women with infertility durations of < 1 year or > 6 years; women with an identified causative factor for their infertility had significantly higher depression scores than women with unexplained or undiagnosed infertility.

Conclusions: Depressive symptoms are common in infertile women. Psychological interventions aimed at reducing depressive symptoms need to be implemented, especially for women with a definitive diagnosis and for those with durations of 2 to 3 years of infertility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Depression / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / etiology
  • Infertility, Female / psychology*
  • Time Factors