Impact of the in-vitro fertilization process on emotional, physical and relational variables

Hum Reprod. 1996 Apr;11(4):903-7. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.humrep.a019276.


The purpose of the study was to examine the stress associated with in-vitro fertilization (IVF) concurrently with other physical and relational variables, and to compare these reactions with those reported during a menstrual cycle without treatment. Women (n = 20) completed a daily symptom checklist for one complete menstrual cycle without treatment and one complete IVF cycle. The checklist included items related to stress, optimism, physical discomfort and marital and social relationships. Daily ratings during IVF were compared with those obtained during the no-treatment menstrual cycle. IVF was associated with more stress, optimism and physical discomfort than a menstrual cycle without treatment, and with greater changes to marital and social relationships. The pattern of results shows that the stress associated with IVF is less salient when examined in the context of reactions in other areas of functioning. The findings suggest that the emotional impact of IVF might be less pronounced during the actual treatment process than is generally assumed from studies focusing on the impact of treatment failure. Variables such as optimism and physical discomfort which have previously received less attention in the literature were significantly affected by IVF treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Stress, Psychological