Symptoms of anxiety and depression in lesbian couples treated with donated sperm: a descriptive study

Catrin Borneskog, Gunilla Sydsjö, Claudia Lampic, Marie Bladh, Agneta Skoog Svanberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To investigate symptoms of anxiety and depression in lesbian couples undergoing assisted reproductive treatment (ART), and to study the relationship of demographic data, pregnancy outcome and future reproductive plans with symptoms of anxiety and depression.

DESIGN: Descriptive, a part of the prospective longitudinal 'Swedish study on gamete donation'.

SETTING: All university clinics in Sweden performing gamete donation.

POPULATION: A consecutive sample of 214 lesbian couples requesting assisted reproduction, 165 of whom participated.

METHODS: Participants individually completed three study-specific questionnaires and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS): time point 1 (T1), at commencement of ART; time point 2 (T2), approximately 2 months after treatment; and time point 3 (T3), 2-5 years after first treatment.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Anxiety and depression (HADS), pregnancy outcome and future reproductive plans.

RESULTS: The vast majority of lesbian women undergoing assisted reproduction reported no symptoms of anxiety and depression at the three assessment points. A higher percentage of the treated women, compared with the partners, reported symptoms of anxiety at T2 (14% versus 5%, P = 0.011) and T3 (10% versus 4%, P = 0.018), as well as symptoms of depression at T2 (4% versus 0%, P = 0.03) and T3 (3% versus 0%, P = 0.035). The overall pregnancy outcome was high; almost three-quarters of lesbian couples gave birth 2-5 years after sperm donation treatments. Open-ended comments illustrated joy and satisfaction about family building.

CONCLUSION: Lesbian women in Sweden reported good psychological health before and after treatment with donated sperm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)839-846
Number of pages8
JournalBJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Issue number7
Early online date14 Mar 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


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