Infertility Treatment and Marital Relationships: A 1-Year Prospective Study Among Successfully Treated ART Couples and Their Controls

Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Uusimaa, Finland
Human Reproduction (Impact Factor: 4.57). 06/2007; 22(5):1481-91. DOI: 10.1093/humrep/dem013
Source: PubMed


Evidence about the effects of infertility and assisted reproduction technique (ART) on marital relationships is discrepant. Here, we examined the impact of ART on marital relationships. The roles of life stressors, infertility and treatment characteristics in predicting marital relations were also evaluated.
Subjects: 367 couples with singleton IVF/ICSI pregnancies. Controls: 379 couples with spontaneous singleton pregnancies. Women and men were assessed when the child was 2 months (T2) and 12 months old (T3). They further reported stressful life events at T2 and depression in pregnancy.
No between-group differences were found in marital satisfaction and dyadic cohesion. Dyadic consensus deteriorated from T2 to T3 only among control women. Sexual affection was low among control men at T2 and stressful life events decreased it further. Depression during pregnancy predicted deteriorated marital relations only in control couples. Several unsuccessful treatment attempts were associated with good dyadic consensus and cohesion among ART women. Spontaneous abortions and multiple parity predicted poor marital satisfaction in ART women, whereas long duration of infertility and multiple parity predicted poor marital relations in ART men.
Successful ART does not constitute a risk for marital adjustment. The shared stress of infertility may even stabilize marital relationships.

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Available from: Leena Repokari
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    • "These paradoxical findings might be explained by the unique characteristics of the sample, because studies of other populations of infertile couples reported that stress from infertility treatment and failure to conceive contributes to greater marital distress [24]. It should be noted that reduced sexual desire and coital frequency may occur due to the loss of sexual spontaneity [21] that is secondary to certain strategies used to increase the chances of pregnancy [31],such as scheduled coitus [32].A study by [12] also reported that infertile females had better partner relationships than fertile females and [22] demonstrated that several unsuccessful attempts at treatment of infertility were associated with good dyadic consensus and cohesion. It is possible that partners become more supportive by sharing the stressful experiences associated with treatment of infertility, and this may improve the marital relationship and increase dyadic cohesion. "

    Full-text · Dataset · Aug 2015
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    • "The research by Pasch et al. [14] on marital quality in ART couples showed that when the spouses both were involved in the infertility treatment process the effects on the relationship were positive [14]. In a Finnish study by Repokari et al. [15] on marital relationships in ART couples (using their own gametes) and controls the results at the one year follow-up showed that the couples who had experienced involuntary childlessness were more resistant to negative psychosocial stressors compared to the control couples who were able to spontaneously conceive [15]. They also reported that they had a good and stable marital relationship throughout the treatment process. "
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Reproductive Health
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    • "In the process of infertility, couples feel hopeless, failed and disappointed about having children every month. The repetition of this cycle may lead to feel more lonely and desperate (8, 9). Similar results have been reported in the studies of Kavlak and Saruhan (41). "
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    ABSTRACT: BackgroundTo determine the correlates and the prevalence of infertility in a group of women.Materials and MethodsThis cross-sectional study was carried out on 570 subjects aged 18-49 years in a town of western Turkey between July and August 2012. Women who have inability to become pregnant despite regular sexual intercourse during the last year were considered to be infertile. UCLA Loneliness Scale was used to assess the severity of loneliness. The data were analyzed by Kruskal-Wallis, Mann Whitney U and Chi-square tests.ResultsThe mean age of the participants was 35.48 ± 8.39 years. The frequency of the infertility in our study was 12.8% (n=73). The prevalence of infertility was higher in those with a history of gynecological disease or gynecologic surgery and in those with menstrual irregularity (p<0.05; for each). The mean score on the UCLA Loneliness Scale was 32.16 ± 9.49 (from 20 to 70). In this study, no difference was found between the level of loneliness and who is responsible for infertility among infertile/fertile women (p≥0.05). Level of loneliness among the women with primary infertility was higher compared to the women with secondary infertility (p<0.05).ConclusionThe prevalence of infertility among the women was relatively high. It was concluded that prospective studies are needed in order to expose the relationship between the infertility and the level of loneliness in women.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · International journal of fertility & sterility
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