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Hum Reprod. 1996 Oct;11(10):2324-31.

The European study of assisted reproduction families: family functioning and child development.

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  • 1Family and Child Psychology Research Centre, City University, London, UK.


Findings are presented of a European study (conducted in the UK, Italy, Spain and The Netherlands) of family relationships and the social and emotional development of children in families created as a result of the two most widely used reproductive technologies, in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and donor insemination (DI), in comparison with control groups of families with naturally conceived child and adoptive families. Mothers of children conceived by assisted reproduction expressed greater warmth towards their child, were more emotionally involved with their child, interacted more with their child and reported less stress associated with parenting than mothers who conceived their child naturally. Similarly, assisted reproduction fathers were found to interact more with their child and to contribute more to parenting than fathers with a naturally conceived child. With respect to the children themselves, no group differences were found for either the presence of psychological disorder or for children's perceptions of the quality of family relationships. The findings relating to the quality of parenting and the socio-emotional development of the children were similar in each of the four countries studied.

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