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A Couple Who Considers Artificial Reproductive Techniques: Psychosocially Informed Care in Reproductive Medicine

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Bio-Psycho-Social Obstetrics and Gynecology


Infertility and its treatments, collectively known as assisted reproductive technology (ART), are psychologically demanding life experiences. Fertility difficulties often result in feelings of sadness, guilt, emptiness, and social isolation among women and men. Treatments with ART are physically demanding, at least for the woman, and accompanied by successive feelings of hope and despair, which is exacerbated when several treatment cycles are undertaken. Psychological distress is compounded by uncertainty about treatment success and the low chance of a live birth. Particular phases of treatment are associated with especially heightened needs for emotional support. Some couples may need assistance to reach a decision to cease treatment if it continues to be unsuccessful. Good clinical practice for infertility and ART clinicians involves much more than the essential biomedical and technical competence. Psychosocially informed care requires a set of acquired skills that promotes patients’ wellbeing and includes empathy, honesty, respect, effective communication, nonjudgmental language, patient involvement, and emotional support. Infertility and ART clinical care can be psychologically challenging work. Multidisciplinary team approaches to clinical practice (pro)mote clinicians’ wellbeing.

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Correspondence to Heather Rowe BSc (Hons), PhD .

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Rowe, H., Fisher, J., Hammarberg, K. (2017). A Couple Who Considers Artificial Reproductive Techniques: Psychosocially Informed Care in Reproductive Medicine. In: Paarlberg, K., van de Wiel, H. (eds) Bio-Psycho-Social Obstetrics and Gynecology. Springer, Cham.

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