Women who give birth after undergoing fertility treatment have an increased risk of getting depression, according to new research from the University of Copenhagen (KU).
The research, which could have a major impact on future fertility treatment methods, revealed that mothers who use fertility treatment are five times more likely to develop a depression, compared to women who don’t have children.
“The new results are surprising because we had assumed it was actually quite the opposite,” said Camilla Sandal Sejbæk, one of the researchers at the Institute of Health at KU.
“Our research doesn’t show why the depression occurs, but other studies reveal it could be down to hormonal changes or mental factors, but we can’t say for sure. We didn’t find any connections between the number of fertility treatments and the subsequent risk of depression.”
The new research is based on the data of 41,000 Danish women undergoing fertility treatment in which their eggs are extracted from their bodies and fertilised in labs.
Infertility affects one in every 4-6 couples trying to have kids, and Lone Schmidt, another co-author of the research, contended that the results would give the industry important tools to learn from when it comes to the handling of pregnancy before and after the birth.
“The results are also important for the couples considering fertility treatment,” said Schmidt. “It can be a tough process and our results show there is not a greater risk of depression if the treatment is unsuccessful.”
The research results have just been published in the international journal ACTA Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavia.