IVF doesn’t increase “risk of divorce”

Despite fears many marriages won’t survive the stress of infertility, a large study involving more than 40,000 Danish women has found IVF does not increase the risk of divorce.

“Our results will be reassuring for couples who have had or are contemplating IVF,” said investigator Dr Mariana Martins from the Faculty of Psychology at the University of Porto, Portugal.

Dr Martins presented the results of the nationwide study at the 33rd Annual Meeting of ESHRE in Geneva.

The cohort study was based on data of all women having assisted reproduction treatment (ART) in Denmark between 1994 and 2009, a total of 42,845 patients.

One-fifth, or 20 per cent, ended up separated or divorced 16 years after undergoing the fertility treatment, according to the findings.

When both partners’ age, education and partnership status was factored in, no difference in the risk of relationship break-up was found.

No couple is immune to some degree of stress but obtaining the appropriate knowledge and having realistic expectations about success rates can make the journey easier, advises Dr Martins.

“We also know that despite all the strain that this infertility can bring, going through ART can actually bring benefit to a couple’s relationship, because it forces them to improve communication and coping strategies,” Dr Martins said.