A Swedish study has found that depression and anxiety in the months leading up to an IVF cycle are associated with lower pregnancy and live birth rates.
The large register study from Karolinksa Instituete were published in the Feb. 23 issue of the journal Fertility & Sterility.
The study is the largest to date to document the association between depression, anxiety,antidepressants and the outcome of IVF. Researchers used Swedish data from 2007 to present. Information on depression, anxiety and antidepressant use was linked to the outcome of IVF treatment at a fertility clinic.
Researchers compared the pregnancy rates, lives births and miscarriages among women who were either diagnosed with depression or anxiety in the two years prior to starting IVF cycle or prescribed an antidepressant in the six months before starting IVF. Of women in the study, 4.4 percent fell into one of the two categories.
“We found that women undergoing their first IVF treatment who either had been diagnosed with depression or anxiety or had dispensed an antidepressant had lower rates of pregnancy and live birth rates compared to women who did not suffer from these conditions or take antidepressants before beginning their IVF treatment,” said the study’s first author Carolyn Cesta, doctoral student at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics.
“Importantly, we found that women with a depression or anxiety diagnosis without a prescription of antidepressants had an even lower chance of becoming pregnant or having a live birth.”
Even so, the study found women taking antidepressants other than SSRIs (serotonin) had even lower rates of pregnancy and live birth as well as a greater chance of miscarriage following IVF. Researchers said the difference could be attributed to these women’s more complex cases of depression and anxiety.
“Taken together, these results indicate that the depression and anxiety diagnoses may be the underlying factor leading to lower pregnancy and live birth rates in these women,” said the study’s principal investigator Anastasia Nyman Iliadou, associate professor at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics.
However, she said the results could also be explained by lifestyle and genetic factors related to anxiety and depression.
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