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Minerva Obstetrics and Gynecology 2022 June;74(3):279-87

DOI: 10.23736/S2724-606X.21.04800-4


language: English

Perceived knowledge, coping and diagnostic-therapeutic pathways of infertile couples trying to conceive: an Italian survey

Maria L. DI PIETRO 1, Drieda ZAÇE 1 , Andrea POSCIA 1, Riccardo MARANA 2

1 Section of Hygiene, Department of Life Sciences and Public Health, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome, Italy; 2 University Polyclinic Foundation A. Gemelli, IRCCS, Rome, Italy

BACKGROUND: The last decades’ increasing infertility risk factors have brought to a growing number of infertile couples. Knowledge regarding infertility and possible treatments is-however- poor, leading to difficulty in coping and understanding. Knowing infertile couples’ perceptions and needs may help clinicians develop services that better address these needs.
METHODS: This study aimed at assessing perceived knowledge, coping mechanisms and diagnostic-therapeutic pathways concerning infertility and Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) in a sample of Italian infertile couples trying to conceive. In this cross-sectional study, 199 subjects aged 25-55 years old who had difficulties conceiving were asked to fill a questionnaire regarding infertility and ART perceived knowledge, coping and diagnostic-therapeutic pathways they had been through.
RESULTS: The perceived knowledge score was 42.5%. Couples had difficulties understanding ART’s success rate and the potential risks for the woman and fetus. Subjects from North of Italy, who were previously engaged in an ART procedure, those who had signed a written informed consent and were offered a specific counselling session had significantly higher mean score of perceived knowledge. Couples were handling the situation in a satisfactory way, supported also by their family, but the procedures, clinical examinations, therapies, medications, were considered complex and stressful by 66.5% of the respondents.
CONCLUSIONS: Healthcare providers should consider the couples’ previous experience with infertility, the important role of informed consent and personalized counselling sessions. Counselling for infertile couples should have a broader, comprehensive approach, integrating psychological, social, ethical support, as well as health literacy, taking into consideration the infertile couples’ preferences and needs.

KEY WORDS: Infertility; Reproductive techniques, assisted; Knowledge

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