Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics

, Volume 30, Issue 11, pp 1451–1458 | Cite as

Reproductive implications of psychological distress for couples undergoing IVF

  • Hayley S. Quant
  • Athena Zapantis
  • Michael Nihsen
  • Kris Bevilacqua
  • Sangita JindalEmail author
  • Lubna Pal
Assisted Reproduction Technologies



To study implications of psychological distress on in vitro fertilization (IVF) outcome of an infertile couple.


Prospective study in an academic infertility practice setting. Couples undergoing embryo transfer (ET) following IVF were offered participation. Female patient (n = 89) and partner (n = 77) completed questionnaires reflecting dysphoria (POMS) and pessimism (LOT) after undergoing ET. Relationship between dysphoria and pessimism and implications of individual and couple’s psychological distress on IVF cycle parameters and outcomes were assessed using multivariable analyses.


Statistically significant correlations between dysphoria and pessimism were observed within the individual and between partners, (p < 0.01). Higher couple pessimism correlated with longer duration of controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH, p = 0.02); higher partner psychological distress related to lower fertilization rate (FR, p = 0.03). On adjusted analyses, partner’s depression score was an independent predictor of reduced likelihood of clinical pregnancy (p = 0.03).


Our data validate the concept of a “stressed couple”. Adverse implications of a couple’s psychological distress for gamete biology (longer duration of COH and lower FR with increasing distress) are suggested. Partner’s depressive scores negatively correlated with IVF success. These findings suggest the importance of including partner’s evaluation in studies that focus on effects of psychological stress on IVF outcome; future studies should examine whether interventions aimed at reducing psychological stress for the infertile couple may improve IVF cycle success.


Stress Mood Dysphoria Pessimism POMS LOT Infertility IVF 



The authors wish to thank the patients and the staff at MIRMH for their participation in making this work a reality.

Declaration of interest statement

The authors report no declarations of interest.

Supplementary material

10815_2013_98_MOESM1_ESM.doc (26 kb)
Supplemental Figure Linear correlation was observed between psychological distress scores of the female patients and their partners. (DOC 26 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hayley S. Quant
    • 1
  • Athena Zapantis
    • 1
  • Michael Nihsen
    • 1
  • Kris Bevilacqua
    • 1
  • Sangita Jindal
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lubna Pal
    • 1
  1. 1.Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical CenterHartsdaleUSA

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