The "test-tube" generation: parent-child relationships and the psychological well-being of in vitro fertilization children at adolescence

Child Dev. 2001 Mar-Apr;72(2):599-608. doi: 10.1111/1467-8624.00299.


The introduction of in vitro fertilization (IVF) at the end of the 20th century constituted a fundamental change in the way in which families could be created, and by the start of the new millennium an increasing number of children have been (and are being) born as a result of this procedure. This article presents findings of a longitudinal study of the first cohort of children conceived by IVF to reach adolescence. Thirty-four IVF families, 49 adoptive families, and 38 families with a naturally conceived child were compared on standardized interview and questionnaire measures of parent-child relationships and children's psychological well-being. The few differences in parent-child relationships that were identified appeared to be associated with the experience of infertility rather than with IVF per se. The IVF children were found to be functioning well and did not differ from the adoptive or naturally conceived children on any of the assessments of social or emotional adjustment.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adoption / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro / psychology*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Male
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Social Adjustment*