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Thia EWH, Vo Thanh LA, Loh SKE
Correspondence: Dr E W H Thia, firstname.lastname@example.org
Introduction Undergoing in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment is an emotional and physical burden. Couples rate the experience of waiting for the outcome of the IVF treatment and an unsuccessful IVF treatment cycle as the most stressful. The outcome of treatment would affect how they feel about their IVF experience. Our survey aimed to increase understanding of how couples feel about the experience of IVF before and during IVF treatment so that strategies to improve their experience can be devised.
Methods A prospective self-comparative study on the psychosocial aspects and support of patients undergoing an IVF programme was done. The questionnaire compared their responses before and during the IVF treatment.
Results A total of 50 couples (100 respondents) participated in our survey. 78 percent were Chinese, 11 percent Malay and ten percent Indian. 64 percent have had tertiary education. 39 percent were married for three to five years, while 38 percent were married for six to nine years. 83 percent have no children prior to IVF treatment. Prior to counselling, 55 percent had some medical knowledge on types of treatment procedures, the treatment options and the risks of IVF. This increased to 81 percent after counselling. 80 percent found the medical counselling helpful. 80 percent found psychosocial counselling helpful in understanding the emotional issues involved in undergoing IVF treatment. 70 percent of couples felt that ongoing psychosocial counselling was useful, especially during the most stressful stage of IVF.
Conclusion This study increased our understanding of the emotional aspects of IVF. Current strategies of providing medical and psychosocial counselling before IVF help prepare couples psychologically. Emotional support and psychosocial counselling before and during IVF were identified as important areas, particularly while waiting for the pregnancy test result.
Keywords: counselling, in vitro fertilisation, psychosocial support
Singapore Med J 2007; 48(1): 61–68