INTRODUCTION: This study aimed to investigate patients' evaluation of a compulsory pre-in vitro fertilisation (IVF) counselling session in Singapore and determine their attitudes towards attending a support group during IVF treatment.
METHODS: 464 patients due to undergo their first IVF treatment were recruited at the Clinic for Human Reproduction, National University Hospital, Singapore. Prior to IVF treatment, all patients attended a counselling session conducted by a clinical psychologist trained in infertility counselling. The Depression Anxiety Stress Scales 21 was used to measure patients' psychological symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress. A feedback form was administered after the session to determine their evaluation of the session and interest in attending a support group.
RESULTS: After the pre-IVF counselling session, 90.9% of patients reported that the session was useful, with over 80% of participants reporting that the session had helped them to better prepare for the IVF treatment, enhanced their coping and enabled them to better communicate their needs to their spouse. Overall, 64.1% of patients expressed interest in attending a support group, with male patients showing more interest. Financial resources and the level of psychological symptoms experienced were found to influence patients' motivation to attend a support group.
CONCLUSION: The single pre-IVF counselling session was well received and found to be useful by patients. Hence, it is recommended that IVF counselling be made an essential part of the holistic care given to patients undergoing IVF, particularly those who experience higher levels of distressing psychological symptoms.