In a nutshell
This study compared the stress levels of patients undergoing voluntary egg freezing to those using in vitro fertilization (IVF). It found that patients had similar levels of stress during both treatments and that repeated cycles increased stress.
Patients undergoing IVF have high levels of stress and have higher rates of anxiety and depression. Infertility itself can be a cause of stress. Additionally, the oocyte (egg) collection process used during IVF can be stressful. Egg collection includes multiple doctor visits, tests, and injections, and can be expensive. The medications used can also affect mood.
Oocyte freezing involves the same collection process as IVF. However, patients undergoing oocyte freezing are not necessarily experiencing infertility. Patients choose egg freezing for a variety of reasons, including concern over future fertility. It is not known whether oocyte freezing causes the same psychological stress as IVF.
Methods & findings
This study included 461 patients undergoing egg collection. 331 were undergoing IVF, and 130 were undergoing egg freezing. The study did not include patients undergoing egg donation or those with a medical reason for egg freezing, such as chemotherapy. Patients took surveys of quality of life on the day of their egg collection.
Patients undergoing egg freezing had similar stress to those undergoing IVF. Younger patients experienced more stress than those 35 years or older. Patients undergoing a repeat cycle had significantly more stress than those undergoing egg collection for the first time.
The bottom line
This study found that egg freezing is as stressful as IVF, which is already known to be stressful.
The fine print
This study used a single survey at the time of oocyte collection. It is not clear how stress changes over the course of the oocyte freezing process.
Published By :
Journal of assisted reproduction and genetics
Aug 13, 2020