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Are Fertility Treatments Linked To Divorce?

Dorathy Gass

While many are sometimes under the assumption that struggling with fertility can cause a couple to break up, a new study suggests otherwise. While it does make sense that in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments can be stressful, a research team has found that it can also create consolidation amongst a couple, and not necessarily divorce.

In the past, studies have found that due to the stress of infertility, couples sometimes turn to divorce. The stress of fertility treatments, especially when it comes to failed attempts, can also heighten these issues and cause a break up in marriage, thus increasing divorces rates.

However, this recent research reveals the IVF is not linked to increased rates in divorce.
Dr. Mariana Martins, Faculty of Psychology, at Portugal’s University of Porto led the study, and gathered over 42,000 Danish females who were dealing with IVF treatments during the period of 1994 to 2009.

The women and their relationships were reviewed over that 16-year time period, on an ongoing basis. The results were reviewed against a control group gathered from the general (female) population. When the team followed up, 65% of the women in the group going through fertility procedures ended up having offspring with their significant others, while 20% had filed for divorce.
Adjustments were made when it came to education, age, and other variables, but even after that, no huge difference were discovered between the two groups. In fact, it was found that both groups of females (in controlled and the research study) had similar chances around divorce. Therefore, IVF did not enhance the risks of divorce, in the end.

In fact, the study revealed that if break ups do occur, the foundation mainly centers around childlessness, versus the treatment itself. The team found that infertility, failure around treatments, and the lack of guarantee for results can take a psychological toll. Still, the team also found that overcoming these elements could potentially consolidate a couple. While the entire experience can be stressful, it can also enhance coping strategies and communication, helping to bring two people closer together.

The team feels confident in the study’s results, due to the long-term period that was covered, as well as the pooling of a larger population. They also hope that the results will encourage those couples struggling with infertility to seek treatment.

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