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Geburtshilfe Frauenheilkd. 2014 Aug;74(8):759-763.

Sexuality, Self-Esteem and Partnership Quality in Infertile Women and Men.

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Institute of Medical Psychology, University Hospital Heidelberg, Heidelberg.
Gynaecological Endocrinology and Reproductive Medicine, Heidelberg University Women's Hospital, Heidelberg.
Fertility Center Berlin, Berlin.


in English, German

Introduction: Infertile couples often report quality-of-life impairments, especially in terms of sexuality, self-esteem and partnership quality. So far, there have been no systematic studies of the sex lives and behaviour of infertile women and men before and after the emergence of their mutual desire for a child. Materials and Methods: From February 2010 to August 2010 all couples starting treatment either at Heidelberg University's Women's Hospital or at the Fertility Center Berlin were asked to fill out the Self-Esteem and Relationship Questionnaire (SEAR). A total of n = 158 women and n = 153 men participated in the study. Results: Decreasing tendencies were observable for both partners in the domains Sexual Relationship Satisfaction and Confidence and in the subscales Self-Esteem and Overall Relationship Satisfaction. There were especially clear indications of a loss of spontaneous sexuality during the experience of infertility. We were also able to establish that infertility has a negative impact on women's self-esteem. Discussion: The results of this study indicate that SEAR can be used as a feasible instrument for identifying infertile women and men whose infertility has a negative effect on their relationship quality and/or sex lives.


confidence; infertility; partnership quality; self-esteem; sexual dysfunctions

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