The SARS-CoV-2 psychological impact on assisted reproductive treatments delay and time to pregnancy
Objective. Couples undergoing fertility treatment procedures are prone to developing feelings of psychological distress caused by their infertility diagnosis, and this emotional toll can be exacerbated by the invasiveness of the treatments for both partners, as well as external factors, such as the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
Material and Methods. A questionnaire, composed of 6 sections for a total of 44 questions, was developed and applied to assess how couples were affected emotionally. More specifically it was used to analyze the differences between couples who decided to take a break from ART procedures lasting over 6 months after an initial failure and those that kept their therapeutic path after an initial failure. A section of the questionnaire was focused on the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
Results. The questionnaire was completed by 79 female subjects and 55 male subjects. The results of the aforementioned analysis showed that the pandemic per se did not have a significant impact in terms of treatment discontinuation. Conversely, relevant factors with a significant impact on treatment time frame were: the concordance of couples’ answers to the questionnaire on the distress associated with infertility, and marital distress (p = 0.04), evaluated through the same questionnaire.
Conclusions. The concordant perception of having a fertility problem from both partners and the stability of the relationship were shown to be the most relevant factors affecting treatment dropout. Moreover, the number of frozen embryos showed an inverse correlation. Of outmost importance, the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic showed no correlation with the ART delay of a second embryo transfer.