Researchers at Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre in The Netherlands recently published a process evaluation in the journal Human Reproduction. The evaluation aimed to find out if adding an emotional screening to the IVF treatment process was feasible and/or advisable. IVF treatment is an extremely emotional process, so preparing men and women for the possible outcomes could help ease the stress and pain associated with lengthy treatment protocols and failed pregnancies.
Data was collected for the study from two pools of patients undergoing IVF treatments at the hospital. The first pool was made up of 304 patients and the second pool 342 patients. Only 78-80% of the patients presented the questionnaire completed the form. Those who did not complete the form claimed they forgot or saw no need for psychological help. Of the patients deemed at increased risk for psychological issues during treatment, 21% claimed they would seek outside help, but 46% of the patient claimed they did not have transportation to seek help.
Conclusion: Further research is needed into the feasibility and impact of emotional screening as a tool for improved IVF care. Clearly there are socioeconomic issues that need to be addressed. There is also a good chance that some patients refused to fill out the questionnaire or seek help because of a pre-existing psychological condition.
Source: Van Dongen AJ, Kremer JA, Van Sluisveld N, Verhaak CM, Nelen WL. Feasibility of screening patients for emotional risk factors before in vitro fertilization in daily clinical practice: a process evaluation. Hum Reprod. 2012 Sep 20.