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Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the psychological status of infertile patients who had in vitro fertilization treatment interrupted or postponed: a cross-sectional study
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  • Fabio Barra,
  • Valentina Lucia La Rosa,
  • Salvatore Giovanni Vitale,
  • Elena Commodari,
  • Michele Altieri,
  • Carolina Scala,
  • Simone Ferrero
Fabio Barra
University of Genoa

Corresponding Author:fabio.barra@icloud.com

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Valentina Lucia La Rosa
Università degli Studi di Catania
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Salvatore Giovanni Vitale
University of Catania
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Elena Commodari
University of Catania
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Michele Altieri
Ospedale Policlinico San Martino Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico per l'Oncologia
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Carolina Scala
Istituto Giannina Gaslini Istituto Pediatrico di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico
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Simone Ferrero
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Objective: To investigate the changes in the psychological status of infertile women and men who had infertility treatment interrupted or postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Design: Cross-sectional study (NCT04400942) performed between April and June 2020. Population: Patients having in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments at our institution interrupted or postponed due to the COVID-19 emergency. Methods: An electronic survey was e-mailed to investigate presence, severity of anxiety and depression using the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) and the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9). Subjects with pre-existing psychiatric disorders diagnosed by DSM-V criteria were excluded from the analysis. Main Outcome Measures: Presence, severity of anxiety and depression; risk factors related to these psychological disorders. Results: Overall, 524 out of 646 patients (80.9%) completed the survey. The prevalence of anxiety and/or depression was significantly higher in women (41.5%, p=0.012), in particular, if aged more than 35 years (50.2%, p=0.023) and with a previous IVF attempt (57.6%, p=0.031). The occurrence of these psychological disorders was significantly associated with the time spent on COVID-19 related news per day (> 1 hour per day, p=0.034) and partner with evidence of psychological disorder (p=0.017) and, in females, with a diagnosis of poor ovarian reserve (p=0.052), diagnosis of endometriosis (p<0.001) or uterine fibroids (p=0.037). Conclusions: The psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the infertile couples who should have undergone IVF treatment was significant. IVF centers should systematically offer these couples an adequate psychological counseling to improve quality of life and mental health. Funding: - Keywords: INFERTILITY: ASSISTED CONCEPTION; PSYCHOLOGY