Dr. Birgitte Baldur-Felskov, an epidemiologist from the Danish Cancer Research Center in Copenhagen, found most studies of this kind were based on single clinics and self-reported psychological effects.
This study was a nationwide follow-up of 98,737 Danish women investigated for infertility between 1973 and 2008, who were then cross-linked via Denmark's population-based registries to the Danish Psychiatric Central Registry.
All women were tracked from the date of their initial fertility investigation until the date of psychiatric event, date of death, date of hospitalization or Dec. 31, 2008, whichever came first.
After an average follow-up time of 12.6 years, 54 percent of the 98,737 women in the cohort did have a baby.
Almost 5,000 women from the entire cohort were hospitalized for a psychiatric disorder, the most common discharge diagnosis being "anxiety, adjustment and obsessive compulsive disorders" followed by "affective disorders including depression."
Those women who remained childless after their initial fertility investigation had an 18 percent statistically significant higher risk of hospitalizations for all mental disorders than the women who went on to have a baby. The risk was significantly greater for alcohol/substance abuse, at 103 percent; schizophrenia, at 47 percent; and other mental disorders, at 43 percent, the study said.
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