Washington: Despite repeated claims that disappointments of infertility and stress of treatment can put strain on a relationship, a recent study has found that the fertility treatment does not increase the risk of divorce. Despite all the strain that infertility can bring, undergoing assisted reproduction treatment (ATR) can actually bring benefit to a couple's relationship, because it forces them to improve communication and coping strategies.
The findings on the security of relationships and parenthood can be particularly helpful in supporting patients' commitment to treatment."
"Our results will be reassuring for couples who have had or are contemplating IVF," said investigator Mariana Martins from the Faculty of Psychology at the University of Porto, Portugal. This was a cohort study based on registry data of all women having assisted reproduction treatment (ART) in Denmark between 1994 and 2009, a total of 42,845 patients.
During the 16 years of follow-up, the majority of couples had children with their baseline partners (56 percent non-ART vs 65 percent ART), and around one-fifth ended up separated or divorced (20 percent ART vs 22 percent non-ART). "This significant interaction between ART status and common children suggests that the risk of break-up is mainly influenced by childlessness," explained Martins.
Martins added that most couples experience some degree of stress during fertility treatment, but the uncertainty of results makes the psychological symptomatology similar to many other chronic diseases. The team suggested that providing couples with appropriate knowledge and expectations about success rates and the burden that ART can bring to a marriage will make that treatment much easier for most couples. The results will be presented at the 33rd Annual Meeting of ESHRE in Geneva.