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Last Updated: Friday, 5 March, 2004, 00:40 GMT
IVF 'is too stressful for many'
Couples can find IVF stressful
Psychological and relationship problems cause many couples to stop having fertility treatment, a study suggests.

Researchers in Sweden surveyed 974 couples who were having IVF. Of these, 242 discontinued the treatment.

Writing in the journal Fertility and Sterility, they said 26% of these dropped out for psychological reasons while 15% were having marital problems.

It comes as the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority launched a guide to help couples having IVF.

IVF directory

The book, called Your guide to Infertility, offers advice and information on the range of options available.

It also includes a directory of IVF clinics around the country, outlining what services they offer and whether they treat NHS patients.

It is extremely important that anyone seeking advice and help for fertility treatment has as much information and support as possible
Suzi Leather,
"It is extremely important that anyone seeking advice and help for fertility treatment has as much information and support as possible," said Suzi Leather, HFEA chairman.

She said many couples drop out of IVF treatment because they have misconceptions about it.

"They really believe this is going to sort it out for them straight away and the facts are that it won't necessarily solve it for them straight away. They have inflated expectations."

Clare Brown, chief executive of Infertility UK and a member of the HFEA, said couples should be aware that IVF is demanding.

"Some will probably have been through treatment for years on end.

"It is very demanding treatment, physically and emotionally, and they may decide to call it a day," she said.

The 114-page book, which is available from the HFEA, includes case studies of couples who have undergone treatment.

One couple, Pippa and Mark Adams from south London say they have spent 40,000 trying to have a baby. "Luckily, we inherited some money, otherwise I don't know how we'd have funded it," they said.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence recommended last week that women under 40 should in future get three cycles of IVF free on the NHS.

However, the government has decided that the NHS will start by offering one free cycle from April next year.

31 Mar 99  |  Medical notes
NHS to offer one free IVF cycle
25 Feb 04  |  Health

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