Mood disorders and fertility in women: a critical review of the literature and implications for future research

Hum Reprod Update. Nov-Dec 2007;13(6):607-16. doi: 10.1093/humupd/dmm019. Epub 2007 Sep 25.


A medline literature review of fertility and mood disorder articles published since 1980 was performed in order to critically review the literature regarding a relationship between mood disorders, fertility and infertility treatment. Previous studies suggests that mood disorders, both in the bipolar and unipolar spectrum, may be associated with decreased fertility rates. Most studies report that women seeking treatment for infertility have an increased rate of depressive symptoms and possibly major depression (none showed evaluated mood elevations). Many, but not all, studies found that depressive symptoms may decrease the success rate of fertility treatment. Treatments for infertility may independently influence mood through their effects on estrogen and progesterone, which have been shown to influence mood through their actions on serotonin. Studies are limited in scope and confounding variables are many, limiting the strength of the results. In conclusion, a range of existing studies suggests that fertility and mood disorders are related in a complex way. Future studies should use clinical interviews and standardized and validated measures to confirm the diagnosis of mood disorders and control for the variables of medication treatment, desire for children, frequency of sexual intercourse, age, FSH levels, menstrual cycle regularity in assessing an interrelationship between mood disorders and fertility.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research / trends
  • Female
  • Fertility / physiology
  • Fertilization in Vitro
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / complications*
  • Infertility, Female / epidemiology
  • Infertility, Female / therapy
  • Mood Disorders / complications*
  • Mood Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mood Disorders / physiopathology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Rate*