Among couples being treated for infertility problems, male depression is linked to a lower rate of success. On the other hand, untreated female depression does not seem to influence the techniques of assisted reproduction. This is what emerges from a study by Dr. Esther Eisenberg.
41% of women being treated for infertility problems have depression problems. The percentage rises to 50% among the male partners involved in in vitro fertilization cycles. The team of Dr. Eisenberg then examined the effects of depression on fertility. The goal was to evaluate how much depression affected the success of in vitro fertilization.
The researchers combined data from two studies funded by the NICHD's Reproductive Medicine Network. One study compared the efficacy of two drugs to induce ovulation in women with polycystic ovaries. The other compared the efficacy of three other drugs in cases of unexplained infertility. In both studies, men and women had drawn up a questionnaire about depression. On that occasion, the researchers had only asked the women what drugs they were taking.
Non-selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors increased the risk of spontaneous abortion. Otherwise, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors have not been linked to such phenomena. These effects occurred if the female partner was the one to take the drug. The untreated female depression, on the other hand, did not affect the success of fertilization cycles.
In the case of depressed male partners, precise data on the use of antidepressants were lacking. In the case of depression in humans, however, the chances of conceiving were 60% lower. Although perfectible, the study offers an opportunity to choose antidepressants to be used concurrently with fertility treatments.