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J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 1997 Sep;18(3):203-12.

The European study of assisted reproduction families: a comparison of family functioning and child development between Eastern and Western Europe.

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  • 1Anatomy & Human Biology Group, Division of Biomedical Sciences, King's College London, UK.


Developments in reproductive technology over the past 20 years have given infertile couples new opportunities to have children. Although assisted reproduction does not appear to lead to negative consequences with respect to parent-child relationships or the socioemotional development of the child, the outcome for children and their parents may well differ according to the social and cultural environment. The aim of the present study was to compare family functioning and the social and emotional development of children in families created as a result of assisted reproductive techniques in Western Europe with assisted reproduction families in an Eastern European country (Bulgaria) where there is a history of specific pronatalist interventions. The findings indicate greater difficulties in parental adjustment and child behavior in assisted conception families in Eastern Europe. In addition, Eastern European parents were more uncertain than Western European parents about whether they would tell the child, and Eastern European parents were much more secretive with respect to telling others. Thus the outcomes of assisted reproduction for family functioning and child development appear to be independent, to some extent at least, on the social context in which these techniques are carried out.

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