Emotional adaptation following successful in vitro fertilization
To assess the emotional impact of infertility after successful IVF and to compare parents who have undergone IVF (IVF parents) and parents who have not undergone IVF (non-IVF parents) regarding parental stress and the marital relationship during the transition to parenthood. A study with qualitative and longitudinal quantitative assessments. University IVF clinics and antenatal clinics in Stockholm. Fifty-five IVF mothers, 53 IVF fathers, 40 non-IVF mothers, and 36 non-IVF fathers. IVF parents were interviewed. All subjects completed self-rating scales in early pregnancy and at 2 and 6 months postpartum. Interviews about perception of infertility and scalar measurement of parental stress and the marital relationship. Negative feelings related to infertility were not easily overcome among the IVF parents. Their levels of stress related to parenthood were similar to those of non-IVF parents, and both groups reported decreased satisfaction with the marital relationship during the transition to parenthood. The inability to conceive naturally continues to affect the current lives of a proportion of IVF parents. The results suggest that IVF parents may benefit from counseling with regard to the potential long-term impacts of infertility, disclosure issues, and decisions regarding future children. However, levels of parental stress and patterns of partner satisfaction are similar to those of parents with children conceived "naturally."