Background: Infertility is a growing issue of the recent era, and it represents significant crises for most couples. Psychological distress has often been suggested as a cause of unexplained infertility. Male infertility accounts for 40% of all infertility problems, while female infertility accounts for 40% of all infertility problems; others are unexplained. Previous studies have indicated that stress and depression negatively impact various infertility parameters in both partners. To determine the relationship between infertility and psychological distress and the level of different types of stress among infertile couples, and to relate the significant stressors responsible for worsening infertility or vice versa.
Methodology: This cross-sectional observational study was conducted on 50 couples. Data collection was done by the department of Gynaecology of Atia General Hospital Malir Kala board. Subjects were evaluated through a self-designed questionnaire, while stressors were assessed through a stress evaluation tool, i.e., Sadaf Stress Scale (SSS). Data were analysed using SPSS version 22.0.
Results: Results show stress levels in infertile couples, i.e., emotional, mental, psychosocial stress and chemical stress, elevated with some minor differences in both partners. Stress, and anxiety increase as the duration of infertility increases. Participants in our study had also experienced reproductive problems in their medical history, like a female with endometriosis, PCOs, pelvic infections and a male with low testosterone, and genital infections, so these reproductive problems can also worsen their stress level and infertility.
Conclusion: Infertility-related stress has direct and indirect effects on both partners, especially on mental health which can cause depression, anxiety etc. Although this study found more similarities than differences in how men and women experience infertility stress, the linkage between infertility stresses in men was surprising because men tend to report less anxiety. Stress and psychological factors are correlated with each other.
Kausar, F. Effect of psychological distress on the emerging cause of infertility. Journal of Asian Midwives. 2018;5(2):6–15.