Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 59 Issue 3 (September 1986), Pages 209-304

Psychological aspects of infertility (pages 209-219)

It has often been claimed that psychological problems accompany infertility among some couples attending infertility clinics. Some authors have suggested that psychological factors may be a primary cause of infertility, others have suggested that the state of infertility itself can provoke psychological symptoms. The importance of psychological counselling for involuntarily childless couples has also been noted. This paper, which reviews studies that have attempted to investigate psychological aspects of infertility, is organized around three issues: psychological factors as a cause of infertility, the impact of infertility on psychological functioning, coping with infertility and the counselling needs of the infertile couple. While there seems little doubt that infertility has psychological consequences for some couples, many questions will remain unanswered unless carefully designed and conducted longitudinal studies are undertaken.

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