Background: Infertility is a major cause of marital problems and sexual dissatisfaction. This study was conducted to determine the effects of counseling on infertile couple's marital relationship and sexual satisfaction.
Materials and methods: This study was performed as a randomized controlled trial (RCT) in which 100 infertile couples (200 participants) who visited Reproductive Health Research Center Tehran, Iran were randomly assigned into two groups: intervention (n = 50 couples, 50 wives and 50 husbands) and control (n = 50 couples, 50 wives and 50 husbands). Intervention was defined as three counseling sessions per week, each lasting 60-90 min. Counseling in the intervention group was conducted separately for each couple. Demographic characteristics and marital and sexual satisfaction were investigated using three questionnaires through interviews. The outcomes, including changes in marital satisfaction and sexual satisfaction, were compared between the two groups 3 months later.
Results: Based on the data collected 3 months after the intervention period, the mean scores of marital and sexual satisfaction in intervention and control groups for wives were 49.62 ± 11.09 versus 54.97 ± 12.64 (P = 0.036) and 36.00 ± 8.37 versus 40.04 ± 7.69 (P = 0.019), respectively. Respective scores for husbands were 45.48 ± 9.55 versus 50.08 ± 11.43 (P = 0.042) and 33.37 ± 7.09 versus 36.63 ± 6.52 (P = 0.025), respectively. It should be noted that higher scores in questionnaires inspecting marital and sexual satisfaction indicate lower satisfaction.
Conclusions: Infertility counseling improves marital and sexual satisfaction in infertile couples.