The efficacy of psychological interventions for infertile patients: a meta-analysis examining mental health and pregnancy rate

Hämmerli, Katja; Znoj, Hansjörg; Barth, Jürgen (2009). The efficacy of psychological interventions for infertile patients: a meta-analysis examining mental health and pregnancy rate. Human reproduction update, 15(3), pp. 279-95. Oxford: Oxford University Press 10.1093/humupd/dmp002

[img] Text
Hämmerli HumReprodUpdate 2009.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to registered users only
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (557kB) | Request a copy
dmp002.pdf - Other
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (557kB) | Preview

BACKGROUND: Psychological interventions for infertile patients seek to improve mental health and increase pregnancy rates. The aim of the present meta-analysis was to examine if psychological interventions improve mental health and pregnancy rate among infertile patients. Thus, controlled studies were pooled investigating psychological interventions following the introduction of assisted reproductive treatments (ART). METHODS: The databases of Medline, PsycINFO, PSYNDEX, Web of Science and the Cochrane Library were searched to identify relevant articles published between 1978 and 2007 (384 articles). Included were prospective intervention studies on infertile patients (women and men) receiving psychological interventions independent of actual medical treatment. The outcome measures were mental health and pregnancy rate. A total of 21 controlled studies were ultimately included in a meta-analysis comparing the efficacy of psychological interventions. Effect sizes (ES) were calculated for psychological measures and risk ratios (RR) for pregnancy rate. RESULTS: The findings from controlled studies indicated no significant effect for psychological interventions regarding mental health (depression: ES 0.02, 99% CI: -0.19, 0.24; anxiety: ES 0.16, 99% CI: -0.10, 0.42; mental distress: ES 0.08, 99% CI: -0.10, 0.51). Nevertheless, there was evidence for the positive impact of psychological interventions on pregnancy rates (RR 1.42, 99% CI: 1.02, 1.96). Concerning pregnancy rates, significant effects for psychological interventions were only found for couples not receiving ART. CONCLUSIONS: Despite the absence of clinical effects on mental health measures, psychological interventions were found to improve some patients' chances of becoming pregnant. Psychological interventions represent an attractive treatment option, in particular, for infertile patients who are not receiving medical treatment.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Hämmerli, Katja; Znoj, Hansjörg and Barth, Jürgen






Oxford University Press




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 15:09

Last Modified:

24 Oct 2019 15:37

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Web of Science ID:




URI: (FactScience: 191358)

Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback