Page URL:

Fertility drugs may not be responsible for mood changes

24 September 2010
Appeared in BioNews 577

Research suggests the anxiety and depression some women experience when undergoing IVF may not be linked to the hormone drugs used in the treatment.

Hormone drugs are used in IVF to stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs and are believed to induce negative mood symptoms including anxiety and fatigue, explained Dr Miki Bloch, from the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center in Israel, who led the study. Dr Bloch and his team looked at one type of drug, a gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist known as GnRH-a, and hypothesised that giving women a 'short course' of GnRH-a, associated with a less significant drop in oestrogen levels, would reduce the risk of experiencing psychological distress during treatment.

Amongst the 108 IVF patients who took part in the study, 48 women were randomly assigned to receive a long course of GnRH-a treatment, beginning with injections for two weeks, which causes oestrogen levels to fall. The remaining 60 women received a shorter four-week course of egg-inducing drugs.

The women completed questionnaires on depression and anxiety at various intervals during the study, but researchers found no association between what the responses indicated, and whether the women had received the short or long GnRH-a regimen.

'The two protocols were comparable in the induction of mood symptoms', wrote Dr Bloch and colleagues in the journal Fertility and Sterility.

The findings indicate that mood symptoms associated with IVF may not be linked to the low-levels of oestrogen hormone drugs induce but may be influenced by other factors including the general stress of treatment, say the researchers. Dr Bloch told Reuters Health: 'the emotional response to the fertility treatment and the stress involved is a strong enough trigger to induce significant mood symptoms in many women, and this is irrespective of the short-term use of a (GnRH-a)'.

The results may be of use to doctors, say the researchers, who can base the decision as to which regimen to prescribe based on an individual's treatment priorities, rather than on the risks of possible emotional outcomes.

GnRH-agonist induced depressive and anxiety symptoms during in vitro fertilization–embryo transfer cycles
Fertility and Sterility |  31 August 2010
Mood symptoms seen even with shorter IVF tactic
Reuters |  16 September 2010
28 February 2011 - by Dr Lucy Freem 
Stress levels are unlikely to affect whether or not a woman becomes pregnant following fertility treatment despite anecdotal reports, a review suggests....
31 January 2011 - by Dr Lucy Freem 
Deaths related to IVF treatment should be better reported to stop them increasing, say the authors of a British Medical Journal (BMJ) editorial. The editorial argues IVF may be riskier than unassisted pregnancy or abortion, although deaths related to IVF remain rare...
14 June 2010 - by Dr Tamara Hirsch 
Reproductive success of both males and females is linked to common personality traits, particularly neuroticism, according to a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)....
10 May 2010 - by Rosemary Paxman 
Our genetic make-up may influence the likelihood of running into debt, UK and US researchers have found, according to the LSE research magazine....
31 August 2005 - by BioNews 
Australian researchers have found that mothers who have children after fertility treatment face a higher risk of suffering from postnatal depression and difficulties with early parenting. Reporting in the journal Fertility and Sterility, the scientists, who are based at the University of Melbourne, suggest that a history of difficulties with...
to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions

Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.