Is in vitro fertilization (IVF) associated with perinatal affective disorders?

Enrico Capuzzi, Alice Caldiroli, Veronica Ciscato, Francesco Giuseppe Zanvit, Valentina Bollati, Jennifer L. Barkin, Massimo Clerici, Massimiliano Buoli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Since mothers who undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) may experience more anxiety and depressive symptoms than mothers who conceive naturally, a review of the literature was conducted to investigate whether IVF may be considered a risk factor for the development of anxiety or depression during pregnancy and post-partum. Methods: A thorough search of articles in Pubmed, PsycINFO and Isi Web of Knowledge was performed in order to produce a comprehensive review regarding the potential association of in vitro fertilization and anxiety/depression. Results: The search resulted in a total of 10 articles. Contradictory results were reported in the articles about the possible association between IVF and the occurrence of anxiety and depressive symptoms both during pregnancy and postpartum period. Three studies found that women who resorted to IVF showed less anxiety and depressive symptoms than those who conceived naturally especially with the progression of pregnancy and in the postpartum. Limitations: Vulnerability to affective disorders of women affected by infertility may be independent from the outcome of IVF. Other limits are the limited research in this area, the small sample sizes, the heterogeneity of the tools used to assess affective symptoms. Conclusions: The available data indicate that IVF is not associated with perinatal affective symptoms. Women who resorted to IVF could have less perinatal depressive symptoms as the result of a positive outcome of the technique and the satisfaction of the desire to become mothers. Further studies are necessary in order to draw definitive conclusions about this topic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-278
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2020


  • anxiety
  • depression
  • In vitro fertilization (ivf)
  • Postpartum
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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