Physical and psychological wellbeing among Australian and New Zealand patients seeking fertility treatment during COVID-19

Iolanda S. Rodino, Sonja Goedeke, Melissa Oxlad, Sarah J. Nowoweiski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Worldwide, COVID-19 has disrupted the provision of fertility treatment and patients’ reproductive plans, resulting in heightened stress for many people seeking to form or expand their families. Aims: Our study explored health behaviour changes and psychosocial implications of COVID-19 in patients accessing fertility treatment in Australia and New Zealand. Materials and Methods: Sixty participants (58 female; 2 male) completed an online cross-sectional survey about demographics, fertility history and treatment, changes to physical and mental health status, and perceived support. Participant responses were summarised using descriptive statistics. Results: Patients indicated that COVID-19 had adversely impacted their fertility treatment experience, including interruptions to treatment owing to fertility clinic closure (70%) and fears about conceiving (68.3%). Patients reported negative health behaviour changes, including a reduction in sleep quality (40%), reduced exercise (40%), weight gain (56.7%) and increases in symptoms of depression (38.3%), anxiety (75%), stress (78.3%) and loneliness (38.3%). Whilst most participants agreed their fertility clinic clearly communicated policy about COVID-19 service changes, including information about availability and/or restrictions, approximately 55% reported being offered nil to very little professional psychological support. When provided professional support, this was most commonly via fertility doctors and nurses (48.3%) compared to counsellors (3.3%). Conclusions(s): Commensurate with findings from larger international cohorts, this study highlights the negative impact of COVID-19 on health behaviours and psychological wellbeing. Moreover, given the ever-changing landscape of COVID-19, our study underscores the importance of promoting and utilising fertility clinic counselling services to enhance patient psychological care during this unprecedented pandemic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-345
Number of pages10
JournalAustralian Psychologist
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'Physical and psychological wellbeing among Australian and New Zealand patients seeking fertility treatment during COVID-19'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this