Increased Risk of Depression for Women Undergoing Fertility Treatment

August 18, 2015

COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- August 18, 2015 -- Women giving birth after undergoing fertility treatment face an increased risk of depression compared with women ending up not having a child following fertility treatment, according to a study published in the journal ACTA Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica.

The study showed that women who give birth after receiving fertility treatment were 5 times more likely to develop depression compared with women who don’t give birth.

“The new results are surprising because we had assumed it was actually quite the opposite,” said Camilla Sandal Sejbaek, PhD, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark. “However, our study clearly shows that women who become mothers following fertility treatment have an increased risk of developing depression in the first 6 weeks after birth compared with women who did not have a child.”

“Our study has not looked at why the depression occurs, but other studies indicate that it could be caused by hormonal changes or mental factors, but we cannot say for sure,” she added. “We did not find any correlation between the number of fertility treatments and the subsequent risk of depression.”

The new research is based on data from 41,000 Danish women who have undergone fertility treatment in which an egg is removed from the body and fertilised in a laboratory. The study is based on unique register information from fertility clinics in Denmark.

“Infertility affects 1 in 4 to 6 couples who are trying to conceive, and our research sheds light on a little-known field,” said Lone Schmidt, MD, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen. “By focusing on the link between having a child after undergoing fertility treatment and the risk of depression, our research can give professionals useful tools in the form of advice and how to handle a pregnancy before and after birth.”

“In addition, the findings are important in relation to couples who are thinking about starting fertility treatment,” he added. “It can be a tough process, and our findings show there is not a greater risk of depression if the treatment is unsuccessful.”

SOURCE: University of Copenhagen

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