Medically Assisted Reproduction and Mental Health: A 24-Year Longitudinal Analysis Using Finnish Register Data

25 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2022

See all articles by Alice Goisis

Alice Goisis

University College London - UCL Social Research Institute

Maria Palma

University College London - UCL Social Research Institute

Niina Metsä-Simola

University of Helsinki - Faculty of Social Sciences

Reija Klemetti

National Institute for Health and Welfare Finland

Pekka Martikainen

University of Helsinki

Mikko Myrskylä

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Alina Pelikh

Centre for Longitudinal Studies, University College London; Centre for Longitudinal Studies, University College London

Marco Tosi

University of Padua

Hanna Remes

University of Helsinki - Faculty of Social Sciences

Date Written: May 13, 2022

Abstract

Background: Medically assisted reproduction (MAR) can negatively impact women’s mental health, particularly when the treatments do not result in a live birth. While the number of women relying on MAR to conceive has grown rapidly, our knowledge about the mental health effects before, during, and after treatment is limited.

Methods: Using Finnish register data on women and linear regression models, we compared antidepressant purchases over 24 years in six-month periods for three groups of women who: 1) gave birth after natural conception (NC), 2) gave birth after MAR treatments (MAR+), or 3) underwent MAR but remained childless (MAR-).

Findings: The results show that women who did not have a live birth after undergoing MAR treatments purchased more antidepressants than women who conceived naturally or through MAR, and that these differences did not attenuate over time (14.1% (95% CI: 13.66-14.62) of MAR- women purchased antidepressants, versus 9.45% of NC (95% CI: 9.36-9.55) and 10.39% (95% CI: 10.07-10.7) of MAR+ women). In contrast, women who conceived naturally and through MAR had very similar antidepressant use from three years before conception to four years after, and over the long term.

Interpretation: The similarities in the antidepressant purchases of women who had a live birth, whether naturally or through MAR, suggest that the higher antidepressant use among women who remained childless after undergoing MAR were likely driven more by involuntary childlessness than by treatment-related stress. The results highlight the importance of counselling for women undergoing MAR treatments, especially if their attempts to conceive are unsuccessful.
Funding: AG, MP, and AP were supported by European Research Council (#803958). PM was supported by the Academy of Finland (#308247, #345219) and European Research Council (#101019329). MM was supported by the Strategic Research Council (SRC), FLUX consortium (#345130 and #345131).

Note:
Funding Information: AG, MP, and AP were supported by European Research Council (#803958). PM was supported by the Academy of Finland (#308247, #345219) and European Research Council (#101019329). MM was supported by the Strategic Research Council (SRC), FLUX consortium (#345130 and #345131).

Declaration of Interests: We declare no competing interests.

Suggested Citation

Goisis, Alice and Palma, Maria and Metsä-Simola, Niina and Klemetti, Reija and Martikainen, Pekka and Myrskylä, Mikko and Pelikh, Alina and Tosi, Marco and Remes, Hanna, Medically Assisted Reproduction and Mental Health: A 24-Year Longitudinal Analysis Using Finnish Register Data (May 13, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4109037 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4109037

Alice Goisis (Contact Author)

University College London - UCL Social Research Institute ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Maria Palma

University College London - UCL Social Research Institute ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Niina Metsä-Simola

University of Helsinki - Faculty of Social Sciences ( email )

United States

Reija Klemetti

National Institute for Health and Welfare Finland ( email )

Pekka Martikainen

University of Helsinki ( email )

University of Helsinki
Helsinki, FIN-00014
Finland

Mikko Myrskylä

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Alina Pelikh

Centre for Longitudinal Studies, University College London ( email )

United Kingdom

Centre for Longitudinal Studies, University College London ( email )

55-59 Gordon square
London, London WC1H0NU
United Kingdom

Marco Tosi

University of Padua ( email )

Via 8 Febbraio
Padova, Vicenza 2-35122
Italy

Hanna Remes

University of Helsinki - Faculty of Social Sciences ( email )

United States

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