Differential efficacy of group and individual/couple psychotherapy with infertile patients

Hum Reprod. 2005 May;20(5):1324-32. doi: 10.1093/humrep/deh743. Epub 2005 Feb 3.


Background: The diagnosis of infertility and concurrent medical treatment may inflict an array of negative emotional symptoms in infertile persons. Evidence for the positive effects of psychotherapy on negative affect and also possible influence on conception rates has been discussed in several studies.

Method: Meta-analyses were conducted in order to evaluate the efficacy of group and individual/couple therapies on (i) the reduction of negative emotional symptoms, and (ii) the possible promotion of pregnancy.

Results: Group and individual/couple psychotherapy led to a decrease in feelings of anxiety. Upon termination of psychotherapy, a reduction of depressive symptoms in patients was greater after 6 months. Psychotherapy accompanying IVF treatment yielded similar conception success rates to psychological interventions administered to patients not in specific medical care.

Conclusion: Results are suggestive of positive effects of psychotherapy for infertile patients. However, these results must be viewed with caution due to methodological and informational bias within the studies analysed.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Anxiety / therapy
  • Depression / psychology
  • Depression / therapy
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro / psychology
  • Humans
  • Infertility / psychology*
  • Infertility / therapy
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Rate
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Psychotherapy, Group