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Describes some of the issues faced by couples undergoing infertility treatment.


Infertility treatment

Infertility treatment can be extremely stressful for infertile couples.

Infertile couples often find treatment options and decision making difficult. They need to decide whether to proceed with the treatment or not, and if so which treatment. Insemination, whether by partner or donor sperm may result in loss of esteem and fears of losing wives or partners by men. Women may feel guilt and anger which is directed toward their male partners. Couples may feel that someone has intruded in their sexual life and this may affect their intimacy.

It is known that IVF treatment is extremely stressful, and for many couples the emotional implications are considerable, financial costs are high, itself is intrusive and time consuming, In addition, it can be very disruptive to the personal, marital, social and work activities. The psychological state of couples undergoing IVF treatment may vary at different stages of treatment, the most stressful stage being awaiting the outcome of treatment.

A more serious dilemma that faces the couple that contemplates the use of donor sperm, egg or embryo, is whether to tell their child of his or her genetic origin.

Typical emotional reactions towards unsuccessful treatment include depression, anxiety, poor self image and feeling of unfulfilment.

The decision to stop treatment despite poor outcomes is a difficult one and unique to the couple. Diana Marcus and colleagues carried out an internet based survey (Human Fertility, 2011). They analyzed the reasons Why do couples stop IVF treatment despite not achieving their goal of delivering a baby? They reported that 60% of couples underwent more treatment cycles than they had originally intended. Ten percent of patients regretted not stopping their treatment earlier. The most common reasons why patients opted against further treatment cycles were financial constraints (46%), emotional burden (35%), poor response to treatment (29%) and poor egg quality (19%).

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