Health-related quality of life is now an important measure in many clinical settings. It is defined as the individual’s overall wellbeing in the face of disease, disability of disorder. When associated to infertility, health-related quality of life is especially pertinent. If you are a member of a couple that recently found out they are infertile, you know just how much of a psychological toll it can take. Involuntary childlessness can be devastating, and is related to a plethora of psychological distresses. Impairments may arise in many areas, such as relationship abilities, marital life, family life and economic stability.

Health-related quality of life examinations in association with infertility usually focus on the feelings of the individual in a relationship, usually the women. However, based on theories about family interaction, both members of the couple should be examined. If you are in a couple that was deemed infertile, it is likely that your quality of life is influencing that of your partner. While this inherent reaction is out of your control, it is crucial that health care professionals involved in the treatment of your infertility take into consideration the quality of life for both individuals. For the most part, women demonstrate a greater likelihood of experiencing a decreased quality of life when infertile than men, but the strain on the relationship alone is enough to affect the man’s life negatively.

When a health care professional notices a decreasing quality of life for couples that are infertile, they should provide interventions. These interventions might include psychotherapeutic interventions, counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, and pharmacotherapy. Communication with the partner is a key to any of these interventions, and it can reduce the negative psychological impacts associated with infertility.

If you and your partner find out that you are infertile, you cannot control the negative feelings you might have. It is not uncommon for your quality of life to decrease as you struggle to maintain your relationship and social life in the face of such distressing news. If you feel like the meaning of your life and your relationship has drastically changed, you are certainly not alone. However, it is up to your health care provider to provide psychological support while also administering infertility treatments. If your treatment provider is not taking the appropriate steps to increase your health-related quality of life in the face of infertility, it is important to seek out one that will.

Source: Theofilou Paraskevi: Infertility and Health Related Quality of Life. Gynecol Obstetric 2, volume 102, January 2012

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