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Hum Reprod. 1998 Dec;13(12):3569-74.

Life after infertility treatment: a long-term investigation of marital and sexual function.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ, USA.


After leaving in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment, both successful and unsuccessful women are generally lost to follow-up. In order to assess overall life satisfaction as well as marital and sexual adjustment after the completion of infertility treatment, three groups of women were studied: group 1 (n = 41), successful IVF women; group 2 (n = 16), unsuccessful IVF women who adopted; and group 3 (n = 18), unsuccessful IVF women who remained childless. All women who had completed a minimum of three IVF cycles between the years 1982 and 1993 were invited to participate in a 'life after infertility' follow-up study. Those who agreed were mailed a lengthy questionnaire which included questions about their reproductive history and infertility treatment, the impact of infertility on their marital and sexual relationship and their final thoughts about treatment. Four standardized questionnaires were also administered. Results revealed that women who became biological mothers through IVF were significantly more satisfied with their lives than women who were unsuccessful in IVF and remained childless (F = 8.62, P < 0.001). Childless women reported that infertility had exerted a significantly greater negative impact on their marriages than that reported by the other two groups. There were no significant differences, however, between the three groups on the standardized measures of marital and sexual satisfaction.

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