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Hum Reprod. 2004 Jun;19(6):1480-7. Epub 2004 Apr 22.

The influence of assisted reproduction on family functioning and children's socio-emotional development: results from a European study.

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  • 1Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Social Issues, Birkbeck College, University of London, 7 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3RA, UK.



ICSI is used with increasing frequency, but there is less information about the children born following this method of assisted reproduction than other forms of IVF. Some authors have suggested that it may contribute to more family stress than IVF.


ICSI conceived children were compared with IVF conceived children and naturally conceived (NC) controls. They were selected in five European countries: Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Sweden and the UK, and seen for psychological testing and a paediatric examination when they were 5 years old. In all countries, except Greece, mothers and fathers were asked to complete questionnaires about parental well-being, family relationships, parenting and child behaviour.


Very few differences were found between the ICSI and NC group or the ICSI and IVF group. The only significant differences were that mothers in the ICSI conceived group reported fewer hostile or aggressive feelings towards the child and higher levels of commitment to parenting than the mothers of NC children.


The study confirms the results of previous work with IVF families. This should be encouraging for families using these techniques in the future.

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