Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Depression and "Successful" IVF

Women who birth a healthy baby conceived through in vitro fertilization are uniquely at risk for postpartum depression, Australian researchers say (sorry for the FOX link; the journal the research was published in, Fertility and Sterility, is members-only access).

Without access to the journal article, I am left to wonder to what causes the researchers attribute the increased depression frequency. The story I link to above says, “Mothers who conceived through IVF and other forms of assisted reproduction were more likely than other moms to be older, have multiple births, and have difficult deliveries that ended in cesarean sections -- three other suspected risk factors for postpartum depression.”

In that case, it is not the process of IVF that triggers the depression, but a set of birth circumstances (multiples, advanced maternal age, etc.) that are more often associated with IVF. Then this is neither new nor surprising in my book.

If, however, they found that the process of undergoing IVF itself created a unique emotional/hormonal situation that predisposed mothers to depression, that IS news, though it is still not surprising.

As someone whose first pregnancy loss tainted my two subsequent pregnancies, I can attest to the fact that any pregnancy glitch can shake your confidence in the whole reproduction process. For women who use assisted reproduction, there are the additional psychological issues of physical competence. The process of becoming pregnant is often long and depressing in itself. Many women with infertility issues are subjected to enormous doses of hormones to suppress and stimulate ovulation and to make the uterus more hospitable.

I would be more surprised to learn that women who endure this regimen are NOT depressed at the end of it, whether or not they have a healthy baby to show for their efforts.


Blogger I am a Milliner's Dream, a woman of many "hats"... said...

I have seen this in my practice, in clients, who so longed for a child, and were diagnosed with depression. Then add hormones to conceive and the infertility cocktail becomes extra potent.


11:55 AM  
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5:43 AM  
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6:50 AM  

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