Parental adjustment and attitudes to parenting after in vitro fertilization

Frances L. Gibson*, Judy A. Ungerer, Christopher C. Tennant, Douglas M. Saunders

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    98 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: To examine the psychosocial and parenthood-specific adjustment and attitudes to parenting at 1 year postpartum of IVF parents. Design: Prospective, controlled study. Setting: Volunteers in a teaching hospital environment. Patient(s): Sixty-five primiparous women with singleton IVF pregnancies and their partners, and a control group of 61 similarly aged primiparous women with no history of infertility and their partners. Intervention(s): Completion of questionnaires and interviews. Main Outcome Measure(s): Parent reports of general and parenthood-specific adjustment and attitudes to parenting. Result(s): The IVF mothers tended to report lower self-esteem and less parenting competence than control mothers. Although there were no group differences on protectiveness, IVF mothers saw their children as significantly more vulnerable and 'special' compared with controls. The IVF fathers reported significantly lower self-esteem and marital satisfaction, although not less competence in parenting. Both IVF mothers and fathers did not differ from control parents on other measures of general adjustment (mood) or those more specific to parenthood (e.g., attachment to the child and attitudes to child rearing). Conclusion(s): The IVF parents' adjustment to parenthood is similar to naturally conceiving comparison families. Nonetheless, there are minor IVF differences that reflect heightened child-focused concern and less confidence in parenting for mothers, less satisfaction with the marriage for the fathers, and vulnerable self-esteem for both parents. (C)2000 by American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)565-574
    Number of pages10
    JournalFertility and Sterility
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2000

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