Successful Fertility Treatment Increases Postpartum Depression Risk

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Women who undergo fertility treatments and subsequently give birth have a higher risk of post-partum depression than women who undergo the treatments but fail to have a child.

Camilla Sandal Sejbaek, PhD, of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and colleagues examined data on 41,000 Danish women who received a fertility treatment. The study is among the first to examine the risk of depression for women undergoing the treatment.

Women who received the fertility treatment and then gave birth were five times more likely to develop depression than women who got the treatment but never gave birth, the researchers reported in the journal ACTA Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica.

“Our study has not looked at why the depression occurs, but other studies indicate that it could be caused by hormonal changes or mental factors, but we cannot say for sure,” Sejbaek said in a statement. “We did not find any correlation between the number of fertility treatments and the subsequent risk of depression.”

Maternal Depression Highest at Four Years After Birth
Women who received the treatment and gave birth were five times more likely to suffer depression than women whose treatment was not successful.

The risk of post-partum depression is elevated among women who give birth after receiving fertility treatment compared to women that fail to have a child despite similar fertility efforts.

Researchers from the University of Copenhagen believe the finding has important implications for all fertility programs.

The investigative topic is unique as Danish researchers are among the first in the world to study the risk of developing clinical depression for women undergoing fertility treatment.

Their findings were unexpected, yet meaningful, as investigators discovered women who give birth after receiving fertility treatment are five times more likely to develop depression compared to women who don't give birth.

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