A new study from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden indicates that people are more negatively affected than previously reported in studies of involuntary childlessness after unsuccessful IVF treatments.
The study was conducted with women and men for whom test-tube fertilization was concluded without resulting in childbirth. All the men had a diagnosis of severe male factor infertility and in the interviews, the men and women described their experiences of involuntary childlessness.
The study shows that childlessness amongst women feels like bereavement whilst the men's perception is described as climbing a mountain one step at a time towards the summit to achieve the goal of forming a family. The men often feel frustrated by not knowing the cause of the infertility; the emphasis is often on the woman and a sense of marginalization can arise. For the men, the driving force is forming a family and they selflessly protect their loved ones by taking on responsibility for the situation.
Additionally, quality-of-life, wellbeing and health were studied and those couples living without children, both men and women, had a significantly poorer quality of life than those for whom IVF treatment had been successful. "They perceived their infertility as central to their lives and above all that quality of life amongst men without children was more negatively affected than had been previously reported in studies of involuntary childlessness," said researcher Marianne Johansson.
Johansson says it is important that health services allow time for supportive discussions following the conclusion of treatment in which the emphasis is on the couple's - the man's and woman's - reactions and thoughts regarding infertility and the future.
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Source: University of Gothenburg