We are pleased to announce the recent launch of an exciting new research initiative that is being conducted by the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Women’s Mental Health.  The Symptom Tracking in Assisted Reproductive Technologies study (START study) will focus on understanding the risk factors for depressive relapse in women undergoing infertility treatments.  There has been a growing request in our clinical work to address the needs of women undergoing infertility treatments.  It is our hope that such a study will provide important information on the course and risk of depression in women undergoing fertility treatment and thus inform clinical care.

The primary goal of this study is twofold.  The first is to delineate the relative risk of relapse in women across infertility treatment who discontinue antidepressant therapy compared to those who maintain treatment with these agents.  The second is to identify predictors of depressive relapse in women receiving infertility treatment.  Additionally, we are interested in describing the trajectory of depressive symptoms across the course of infertility treatment. We also seek to identify biological markers of stress in women undergoing infertility treatment. In understanding these risk factors, we hope in the future to develop personalized treatment to meet specific needs of the spectrum of women undergoing infertility treatment.

The START study is an observational study that tracks women’s moods symptoms over a period of six months.  Participation in the study involves brief monthly visits at Massachusetts General Hospital and the completion of at home mood and fertility treatment diaries. The study has been tailored to meet the needs of the individual participant and can also be completed remotely for those women who do no live locally or who are unable to commit to clinic visits.  Those eligible for the study include all women with a history of major depression or bipolar depression currently in remission who are planning or are undergoing fertility treatment. Women interested in participating in this study may contact us by phone at 1-617-643-5154 or by e-mail at skmurphy@partners.org. We also encourage you to visit our study website https://womensmentalhealth.org/clinical-and-research-programs/registry-signup/symptom-tracking-in-assisted-reproductive-technologies-start-study/ to learn more.

As always, thank you for your continued interest and support of our Program.

Lee S. Cohen, MD

Marlene Freeman, MD

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