Background: The aim of this study was to evaluate a model of routine pre-IVF counselling focusing on the narrative capacities of couples. The acceptability of counselling, the effects on emotional factors and the participants' assessments were considered.
Methods: The study included 141 consecutive childless couples preparing for their first IVF. Randomization was carried out through sealed envelopes attributing participants to counselled and non-counselled groups and was accepted by 100 couples. Another 12 couples refused randomization because they wanted counselling and 29 because they did not. Questionnaires including the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, the Beck Depression Inventory and assessments of help were mailed to couples before IVF and counselling, and after the IVF outcome.
Results: Counselling was accepted by 79% (112/141) of couples. There was no significant effect of counselling on anxiety and depression scores which were within normal ranges at both times. Counselling provided help for 86% (75/87) of initially non-demanding subjects and 96% (25/26) of those initially requesting a session. Help was noted in areas of psychological assistance, technical explanations and discussing relationships.
Conclusions: This model of routine counselling centred on the narrative provides an acceptable form of psychological assistance for pre-IVF couples.