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Hum Reprod. 1998 Nov;13(11):3262-7.

Psychological reactions during in-vitro fertilization: similar response pattern in husbands and wives.

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  • 1School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Wales, UK.


The purpose of this study was to examine differences in daily emotional, physical and social reactions among husbands and wives during in-vitro fertilization (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Forty couples about to undergo ICSI or IVF at a private infertility clinic monitored their emotional, physical and social reactions daily for one complete treatment cycle from the first day of stimulation until the outcome of treatment was known (approximately 35 days). The results showed that men and women had a similar response pattern to oocyte retrieval, fertilization, embryo transfer and the pregnancy test. These stages were associated with the most significant changes in reactions for both spouses. The pattern of results suggested that the most important psychological determinant of reactions during IVF was the uncertainty of treatment procedures. Spouses appeared to be equally sensitive to this uncertainty and both appeared to respond to it with ambivalent feelings involving emotional distress and positive feelings of hope and intimacy.

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