COUPLES who attend infertility clinics for a second time can suffer increased levels of depression and sadness.
Patients who attended a second visit also had significantly greater problems with concentration and higher levels of interference with their day-to-day work or obligations.
A study in the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin used a quality of life questionnaire on patients attending for their first and second time at its infertility clinic.
"When asked about the ability to move ahead with life's goals and plans, patients attending for their second visit were much more likely to be affected by their infertility," the findings stated.
"The experience of grief in not being able to have a child or more children is increased for those attending for their second visit. As expected, infertility had more negative effects on women compared to men."
A total of 103 questionnaires were received with 70 patients attending their first visit, 34 men and 35 women. Some 34 patients attended for their second visit, 17 men and 17 women.
"Our findings draw attention to the importance of offering patient support to couples attending for infertility advice, particularly after the initial visit.
"Results and options discussed can have a significant impact on couple's quality of life," said the study authors.
Helen Browne, founder of the National Infertility Support and Information Group, said there was a clear need for more support.
The organisation holds meetings in Cork, Dublin and Limerick. Further details can be found at nisig.com