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Psychiatric Morbidity amongst Infertile Chinese Women Undergoing Treatment with Assisted Reproductive Technology and the Impact of Treatment Failure

Lok I.H.a · Lee D.T.S.b · Cheung L.P.a · Chung W.S.b · Lo W.K.a · Haines C.J.a
Departments of aObstetrics and Gynecology and bPsychiatry, Prince of Wales Hospital, Chinese University of Hong Kong, People’s Republic of China Gynecol Obstet Invest 2002;53:195–199 (DOI:10.1159/000064560)


This is a prospective study to assess the psychiatric morbidity in Chinese infertile women who underwent treatments with assisted reproductive technology and also the impact of treatment failure. The 30-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) were employed before and 3 weeks after the assisted reproductive technology treatment. Data from 372 patients who completed the questionnaires and failed the treatment were analyzed. Before treatment, 33% of the participants scored above the GHQ cutoff, and 8% had a BDI score of 20 or above, signifying moderate to severe depression. Following failed treatment, 43% scored above GHQ cutoff, and 8% had BDI scores 20 or above. The posttreatment GHQ and BDI scores were significantly higher than the corresponding scores at baseline (p < 0.001). About 13% of the participants reported self-harm ideas. The severity of depression following a failed treatment was positively associated with the duration of infertility (p < 0.05), but not with the posttreatment BDI scores, age, education, and number of previous treatment episodes. Our results show that one third of the women who sought infertility treatment had an impaired psychological well-being. Following failed treatment, there was a further deterioration in mental health, and about 10% of the participants were moderately to severely depressed. Proper psychological care and counseling should be an integral part of infertility management among the Chinese population.


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