Depression and anxiety outcomes associated with failed assisted reproductive technologies: a systematic review and meta-analysis Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE:Our study examined the psychological outcomes associated with failed ART treatment outcomes in men and women. SEARCH STRATEGY:A systematic search for studies published between January 1980 and August 2015 was performed across seven electronic databases. INCLUSION CRITERIA:Studies were included if they contained data on psychosocial outcomes taken pre and post ART treatment. DATA EXTRACTION AND SYNTHESIS:A standardised form was used to extract data and was verified by two independent reviewers. Studies were meta-analysed to determine the association of depression and anxiety with ART treatment outcomes. Narrative synthesis identified factors to explain variations in the size and directions of effects and relationships explored within and between the studies. MAIN RESULTS:Both depression and anxiety increased after a ART treatment failure with an overall pooled standardised mean difference (SMD) of 0.41 (95% CI: 0.27, 0.55) for depression and 0.21 (95% CI: 0.13, 0.29) for anxiety. In contrast, depression decreased after a successful treatment, SMD of -0.24 (95% CI: -0.37,-0.11). Both depression and anxiety decreased as time passed from ART procedure. Nonetheless, these remained higher than baseline measures in the group with the failed outcome even six months after the procedure. Studies included in the narrative synthesis also confirmed an association with negative psychological outcomes in relation to marital satisfaction and general well-being following treatment failure. CONCLUSION:Linking ART failure and psychosocial outcomes may elucidate the experience of treatment subgroups, influence deliberations around recommendations for resource allocation and health policy and guide patient and clinician decision making.

publication date

  • 2016