A new study has found that women who give birth after receiving fertility treatment are five times more likely to develop depression compared to women ending up not having a child following fertility treatment.
"The new results are surprising because we had assumed it was actually quite the opposite," said one of the researchers Camilla Sandal Sejbaek from University of Copenhagen in Denmark.
"However, our study clearly shows that women who become mothers following fertility treatment have an increased risk of developing depression in the first six weeks after birth compared to women who did not have a child," Sejbaek pointed out.
The new research is based on data from 41,000 Danish women who have undergone fertility treatment in which an egg is removed from the body and fertilised in a labouratory. The study is based on register information from fertility clinics in Denmark.
"Our study has not looked at why the depression occurs, but other studies indicate that it could be caused by hormonal changes or mental factors, but we cannot say for sure," Sejbaek explained.
The findings could have implications for fertility treatment in future.
"Infertility affects one in four to six couples who are trying to conceive, and our research sheds light on a little-known field," Lone Schmidt, associate professor at University of Copenhagen, noted.
"By focusing on the link between having a child after undergoing fertility treatment and the risk of depression, our research can give professionals useful tools in the form of advice and how to handle a pregnancy before and after birth," Schmidt pointed out.
The findings were published in the journal ACTA Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica.