Marital benefit and coping strategies in men and women undergoing unsuccessful fertility treatments over a 5-year period

Chapman University, Crean School of Health and Life Sciences, Schmid College of Science, One University Drive, Orange, CA 92866, USA.
Fertility and sterility (Impact Factor: 4.59). 02/2011; 95(5):1759-63.e1. DOI: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2011.01.125
Source: PubMed


To assess the relationship between infertility, marital benefit, and coping in a sample of men and women undergoing unsuccessful fertility treatments.
Prospective longitudinal cohort design using multilevel modeling.
Danish public and private hospitals (n = 5) specializing in treating fertility patients.
Participants were Danish men and women about to start a cycle of medically assisted reproduction treatment who were followed for a 5-year period of unsuccessful treatments.
The Copenhagen Multicenter Psychosocial Infertility research program Coping Strategy Scales and Marital Benefit Measure.
Compared with men, a greater percentage of women reported high levels of marital benefit. For active-avoidance coping, there was a significant partner effect by gender interaction. Meaning-based strategies increased between 1 and 5 years for men and women. The use of meaning-based coping had a significant positive actor effect with marital benefit for both men and women.
Approximately one-third of participants undergoing unsuccessful fertility treatments reported high marital benefit as a positive consequence of the infertility experience. Partner effects for men and women related to active-avoidance coping may be related to the degree of emotional support that each spouse can offer the other, whereas differences in meaning-based coping indicate a possible timing effect related to gender.

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    • "They also reported that they had a good and stable marital relationship throughout the treatment process. Research from Denmark [5,16] reported positive effects on marriage as a result of infertility experiences. These couples were IVF-couples using their own gametes after both successful and unsuccessful treatments. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Long-term follow-up on relationship quality in couples who use sperm donation is scarce. Therefore, this study aimed to analyse changes over time in satisfaction with relationship in heterosexual couples who were scheduled for treatment with sperm donation and IVF couples treated with their own gametes and to compare the two groups undergoing different treatment for infertility. Method A prospective follow-up study in which data were collected twice on two groups; couples receiving sperm donation and IVF couples using their own gametes. The ENRICH instrument was used to gain information about the individuals’ subjective experience of their relationship at the time of acceptance for treatment and again 2–5 years later. Results At the time of acceptance for treatment the men and women in the two groups assessed their relationships as being very solid on all dimensions and that there were no differences between the two groups. At the second assessment there was a decline in the satisfaction scores on the dimensions “Children and parenting” and “Egalitarian”, while an increase in scores was observed on “Conception of life” and “Conflict resolution” both for men and woman and also for the two groups. For the couples that had a successful treatment and gave birth to a child/children there was a decrease in satisfaction of the relation in the sperm donation group as well as in the group of couples having IVF with own gametes. Conclusion In conclusion, the overall quality of relationship is stable in couples receiving donated sperm and does not differ from couples undergoing IVF-treatment with own gametes.
    Reproductive Health 08/2014; 11(1):62. DOI:10.1186/1742-4755-11-62 · 1.88 Impact Factor
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    • "The experience of infertility and assisted reproductive technology (ART) has been associated with deleterious social and psychological consequences to the individual (Cousineau and Domar, 2007; Leiblum, 1997; Watkins and Baldo, 2004), although different conclusions can be drawn when comparing infertile patients adjustment with norms (Verhaak et al., 2007). Negative consequences in the marital relationship have also been reported (Monga et al., 2004; Wang et al., 2007); however, findings about the marital relationship in infertile couples have been inconsistent, with some studies reporting stability (Sydsjo et al., 2005) or even improvement (Hjelmstedt et al., 1999; Holter et al., 2006; Peterson et al., 2011; Schmidt et al., 2005b) in the marital relationship. The couples' sexual relationship is thought to be affected by infertility, mainly during infertility assessment and treatment, due to medical procedures of evaluation and the scheduling of sexual intercourse (Leiblum, 1997; Takefman et al., 1990). "
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    ABSTRACT: Research has documented that fertility problems can negatively affect the life of infertile patients, by imposing an obstacle to one important life goal: the achievement of parenthood. The Fertility Problem Inventory (FPI) proposes a comprehensive approach in assessing infertility stress, by measuring the impact on social, marital and sexual life dimensions and the importance of parenthood in infertile patients' life. This study examined the factor structure of the FPI, testing two alternative models using confirmatory factor analysis. A sample of 209 infertile patients was recruited in two public hospital departments of assisted reproduction technology. Measures included the FPI, the Brief Symptom Inventory and the ENRICH Marital Inventory. Results confirmed the original measurement model of the instrument but suggested that the inclusion of an intermediate conceptual level resulted in a better fit to the model (χ²₈₄= 147.89, P< 0.001) i.e. the instrument assesses infertility stress by assessing two main conceptual domains: the impact of infertility in infertile patients' life and representations about the importance of parenthood. The instrument revealed measurement and structure invariance and construct validity by correlating with other measures assessing similar constructs. This approach to the FPI has important contributions for research and clinical practice by distinguishing between the impact of infertility on different dimensions of a couple's' life and representations about the importance of parenthood, therefore extending the utility of the FPI in research and clinical practice.
    Human Reproduction 11/2011; 27(2):496-505. DOI:10.1093/humrep/der388 · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this study we examined the congruence between partners’ perceptions of their marital relationship during the transition to parenthood and the effect of depression during pregnancy on couples’ congruence during the early postpartum period. Thirty-one couples who conceived spontaneously, along with thirty-five who conceived through assisted reproductive technologies (ART), provided data on their marital relationship and depression at their 24th pregnancy week and four months after the partum. All couples reported a decrease in marital congruence. Couples who conceived through ART reported lower marital congruence. For these subjects, women’s depression was associated with lower congruence. Interventions that focus on strengthening the marital relationship across the transition to parenthood should assess and promote couples’ congruence. KeywordsInfertility–Assisted reproductive technologies–Transition to parenthood–Marital congruence–Depression
    Contemporary Family Therapy 06/2011; 33(2):91-106. DOI:10.1007/s10591-011-9153-7
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