Fertility treatment does not spike divorce risk


Undergoing fertility treatment does not increase divorce risk, says a study in a finding that can help in supporting patients’ commitment to the treatment.

Previous studies have suggested that undergoing assisted reproductive technology (ART) such as in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) greatly increases couples’ stress and anxiety levels.

Some even claimed that infertility and stress involved in the treatment put strain on the marriage or the relationships.

However, “despite all the strain that this infertility can bring, going through ART can actually bring benefit to a couple’s relationship”, said Mariana Martins from the University of Porto in Portugal.

“It forces them to improve communication and coping strategies,” Martins said.

Over 40,000 women were involved in the study, for which Martins said: “Our results will be reassuring for couples who have had or are contemplating IVF.”

Further, the study showed that treatment-related anxiety alone did not cause any difference in the risk of marriage or partnership, but remaining childless after treatment did.

“We believe 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,” Martins said.

The results were presented at the Annual Meeting of European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) in Geneva. For the study, the team included a total of 42,845 women undergoing ART in Denmark.

The majority of couples had children with their baseline partners (56 per cent non-ART vs 65 per cent ART), and around one-fifth ended up separated or divorced (20 per cent ART vs 22 per cent non-ART).