Emotional aspects and assisted reproduction

By (embryologist) and (fertility counselor).
Last Update: 05/04/2015

As is well known, both infertility and assisted reproductive treatments (ART) have a clear emotional impact on people. It has also been found that the emotional state of the couple can affect the outcome of the treatment, i.e. the success rates increase when the emotional state is adequate.

It has been proved (Dommar; Dolz and Vidal) that patients that received psychological support during the ART are twice more likely to become pregnant than those who do not receive this support.

It is important to determine which elements create the right emotional state to face the assisted reproduction treatment so that the therapy and psychological treatment can have a positive effect on the results of the ART.


We believe there are two factors that contribute to achieving and maintain an ideal emotional state capable of facilitating the achievement of a pregnancy. On one hand, there are the “balancers” such as:

  • Keeping stress and anxiety levels under control.
  • Support from your partner.
  • Continuing with your normal life without only focusing on the treatment.

On the other hand, the motivators or enhancers are:

  • A high level of confidence in the effectiveness of the treatment and in the medical team.
  • High expectations of success regarding the outcome of the treatment.
  • Inner certainty that you will become pregnant.

Both factors act in different ways. Balancers increase resistance to psychological fatigue, preventing thus patients from abandoning the treatment and decreasing the perception of poor quality of life during the ART. Motivators act by building trust, security, and faith as well as making the patient believe that a pregnancy is possible.


A study has been conducted on FIV-Valencia with the goal of:

  • Checking if emotional balancers were present in women who became pregnant after an assisted reproduction treatment.
  • Checking for emotional motivators/enhancers in patients and analyzing if high expectations of success and inner certainty were determinant factors in becoming pregnant.

This study was conducted with a sample of 88 patients who achieved pregnancy after assisted reproduction treatments done in IVI-Valencia in 2009.

An interview was done to the patients and they were asked, among other things, whether they suffered from anxiety during the treatment or not, if they trusted the treatment or if they had moments of discouragement, if they believed they would be able to become mothers or if they weren't sure.


The following balancing factors were present in women who become pregnant: positive mood, serenity and controlled anxiety, a significant percentage of 65% of "serene" patients versus 35% of "anxious" and 75% prevailed against discouragement.

Motivational factors are more important than balancing factors because to the question 'which elements contribute to maintaining an appropriate emotional state during treatment?', 65% of women mentioned trust elements and expectations (40% mentioned trust in the medical team, 20% trust in the success of the treatment and 5% mentioned talking to other people who faced the same problems and overcame them); 35% mentioned balancing elements (15% mentioned the support from the partner, 15% continuing their normal life without focusing too much on treatment and 5% mentioned relaxation techniques).

High expectations of success in patients undergoing assisted reproduction treatments is relevant to achieve a pregnancy: 80% of patients reported being sure they would become pregnant while 20% were not completely sure.

This finding is important because many patients prefer to have low expectations, but it has been shown that trusting the outcome of the treatment helps when it comes to becoming pregnant.

Source: FIV-Valencia

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 Neus Ferrando Gilabert
Neus Ferrando Gilabert
B.Sc., M.Sc.
Bachelor's Degree in Biology from the University of Valencia (UV). Postgraduate Course in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the Miguel Hernández University of Elche (UMH). Experience managing Embryology and Andrology Labs at Centro Médico Manzanera (Logroño, Spain). More information about Neus Ferrando Gilabert
Adapted into english by:
 Sandra Fernández
Sandra Fernández
B.A., M.A.
Fertility Counselor
Bachelor of Arts in Translation and Interpreting (English, Spanish, Catalan, German) from the University of Valencia (UV) and Heriot-Watt University, Riccarton Campus (Edinburgh, UK). Postgraduate Course in Legal Translation from the University of Valencia. Specialist in Medical Translation, with several years of experience in the field of Assisted Reproduction. More information about Sandra Fernández

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