Psychological Adjustment of Infertile Men Undergoing Fertility Treatments: An Association With Sperm Parameters

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Abstract

Background

The difficulties in the psychological adaptation to the infertility diagnosis and assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatments have shown influence on the sperm quality. The biological and psychological aspects of infertility seem not to be independent.

Objective

To analyze the impact of depressive symptoms, anxiety, dyadic adjustment and infertility stress on the sperm quality of the men proposed to ART first or repeated experience.

Materials and Methods

This transversal study was conducted in the Medically Assisted Reproduction Unit of Centro Hospitalar de São João, in Porto, Portugal. 112 men with infertility diagnosis were included to initiate an ART cycle. Participants completed the Inventory State–Trait Anxiety-Form Y (STAI-Y), the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II), the Dyadic Adjustment Scale (DAS) and the Inventory of Fertility Problems (IFP) before the beginning of the treatment.

Results

The state-anxiety had a negative linear impact on the slow progressive motility (p < 0.05). However, depressive symptoms assumed a suppressor effect on this variable, enhancing its importance as a predictor.

Conclusion

Results show that psychopathological symptoms before an ART cycle can influence the sperm motility. However, this association seems to only be present in men undergoing first experience ART treatments. Thus, this research shows the need for mental health professionals to respond to emotional difficulties of the male gender, through the development of psychological interventions adjusted, so as to minimize the impact of exposure to ART treatments.

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