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Relationships in IVF couples 20 years after treatment
Svanberg, A. Skoog
Article from Journal - ilmiah internasional
Human Reproduction vol. 26 no. 07 (Jul. 2011)
PSYCHOLOGY AND COUNSELLING
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BACKGROUND Involuntary childlessness is a psychological and social dilemma for at least one but usually both members of the childless couples and is thought to have a lifelong impact on many of these couples. Studies of the long-term effects are scarce and the participation rate in published studies is generally very low. We therefore intended to analyse relationships and family structure in couples 20–23 years after the women in these couples had received IVF treatment. METHODS The data are drawn from answers from 788 individuals—81% of the individuals treated. ENRICH has been used to analyse the relationships in those couples who stated that they have remained a couple since their IVF treatment. In total, 412 men and women (206 couples) answered the ENRICH inventory. A total of 14 men and 137 women answered the ENRICH, without their spouse answering the inventory. RESULTS We found that the majority of all couples show a stable relationship 20 years or more after the date of IVF treatment. However, the group of couples who remained childless (9.2% of the total study population) during the 20 years following the IVF treatment differ from the majority on the subscale ‘Children and Parent’ measuring aspects on attitudes and feelings about having and raising children. Another difference seen in the couples that were childless was that men scored significantly higher on ‘Conflict resolution’ and the couples had a higher average score on positive agreement on the issues on ‘Communication’ indicating a skill in communication in the relationship and also an agreement that they are communicating well. CONCLUSIONS We found that the majority of IVF couples (90.8%) who had been treated ~20 years prior to follow-up had added at least one biological or adopted child to the family during that time. The relationships in couples who had continued to stay together during that period were generally described as being good, whether the couples had become parents or not.
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