Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 217–224 | Cite as

Couples’ discontinuation of fertility treatments: a longitudinal study on demographic, biomedical, and psychosocial risk factors

  • Juliana Pedro
  • Maria Pedro Sobral
  • Joana Mesquita-Guimarães
  • Carla Leal
  • Maria E. Costa
  • Mariana V. MartinsEmail author
Assisted Reproduction Technologies



This study aims to explore the role of infertility-psychosocial variables on treatment discontinuation after controlling for demographic and biomedical variables in couples seeking reimbursed fertility treatment.


A prospective study was conducted in 139 couples seeking fertility treatment. Between February 2010 and March 2011, participants completed measures of anxiety (STAI-State), depression (BDI-II), infertility-stress (FPI), and infertility coping strategies (COMPI-CSS). Medical data related to diagnosis, treatment, and discontinuation were collected in December 2013. A multiple logistic regression was performed to identify the predictors of discontinuation.


The discontinuation rate was 29.5%. Female education level, engagement in ART procedures, and female causation decreased the likelihood of treatment discontinuation, whereas female age and depression increased the likelihood of discontinuation. Female depression was the strongest predictor in this model. The model correctly identified 75.5% of cases.


Female age and female depression are associated with a higher likelihood of treatment discontinuation in couples seeking treatment. Reproductive health professionals should therefore inform couples about the link between the fertility treatment discontinuation and both female age and female depression. Couples in which female partners present clinically relevant depression should be referred to a mental health professional to prevent premature abandonment of fertility treatments and thus increase success rates.


Fertility treatments Discontinuation Dropout Mental health 


Compliance with ethical standards

Declaration of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


This study was supported by European Union Funds (FEDER/COMPETE—Operational Competitiveness Program) and by national funds (FCT—Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology) under the projects PTDC/MHC-PSC/4195/2012 and SFRH/BPD/85789/2012.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

10815_2016_844_MOESM1_ESM.docx (15 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 14 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juliana Pedro
    • 1
    • 2
  • Maria Pedro Sobral
    • 1
  • Joana Mesquita-Guimarães
    • 3
  • Carla Leal
    • 3
  • Maria E. Costa
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mariana V. Martins
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Center for PsychologyUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.Faculty of Psychology and Education SciencesUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  3. 3.Reproductive Medicine DepartmentPorto Hospital CenterPortoPortugal

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