A Description of Depression in Women Experiencing Infertility

Date of Graduation

Fall 2005


Master of Science in Nursing



Committee Chair

Kathryn Hope


The purpose of this study was to describe the level of depression of women experiencing infertility. The occurrence of depression in infertility in humans has been documented since biblical times. The emotional experience of infertility is described as a rollercoaster due to the anxiety of new tests, treatments, and the repeated disappointment when conception is not achieved and menstruation occurs (Hart, 2002). Infertility represents a significant stress, with symptoms of anxiety and despair, and it has been noted that the prevalence of depression may be higher in infertile women (Meller, Burns, Crow, & Grambsch, 2002). This study used a descriptive design and convenience sample of 22 women experiencing fertility, recruited using various methods. Participants were contacted by their provider or researcher to complete questionnaires. Demographic information and the presence and degree of depressive symptoms in the results were examined using these questionnaires. Findings reported a minimal level of depression was the mean depression score found among a sample of population in which the majority had utilized advanced reproductive technology, but also reported that they had supportive relationships. A significant number (40.9%) had moderate or severe depression. This sample was largely Caucasian, was middle income and college educated. Healthcare providers and women with infertility need to be educated on depression and the available support for individuals and couples suffering from infertility. Healthcare provides need to proactively recommend that their infertile patients become involved in group behavioral treatment, individual psychotherapy or a support group. Patients diagnosed with moderate or severe depression need more aggressive treatment, coupled with psychotherapy.


depression, infertility, coping, infertile, women

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© Susan K. Groban