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Hum Reprod. 2002 Apr;17(4):1116-23.

Parenting and psychosocial development of IVF children: a follow-up study.

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Catholic University of Leuven, Faculty of Psychology and Pedagogical Sciences, Centre for Family Pedagogy, Leuven, Belgium.



This report details a follow-up study of the parent-child relationship and the child's psychosocial development after IVF. The pilot study compared 31 IVF families and 31 families with a naturally conceived child when the children were aged 2 years. Twenty-seven IVF and 23 control families participated again when the children were aged 8-9 years.


Fathers and mothers completed questionnaires assessing parenting variables and the child's behaviour. For most children, behavioural ratings were also obtained from the child's teacher.


No significant differences were found between IVF and control parents' reports of child behaviour, parenting behaviour, parenting stress and most of the parenting goals. The parenting goal adjustment was significantly more important for IVF than for control fathers; religion was more important for IVF than for naturally conceiving mothers. Teacher ratings of the child's behaviour did not differ significantly between the IVF and control groups. All couples but one had talked to other persons about the IVF conception; 75% of the IVF parents had not yet informed their children. IVF parents who had informed their child observed more (internalizing and for fathers also overall) problem behaviours in their child, compared with IVF parents who had not yet disclosed the IVF conception.


Parenting and the children's psychosocial development do not differ significantly between IVF families and control families.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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