Women who seek evaluation for infertility problems are more likely to remain with their partner if they are ultimately able to have a child after fertility treatment, a new Danish study suggests.
"Prior studies show that fertility problems may cause marital or sexual distress for couples, which may potentially lead to separation or divorce," said lead author Trille Kristina Kjaer at the Danish Cancer Society Research Centre in Copenhagen, Denmark.
"Our study suggests that women who did not have a child after fertility evaluation were likely to end the relationship with that partner," Kjaer added.
The findings indicate that after 12 years of follow-up, nearly 27 percent of women were no longer living with the partner, who they had at the time of fertility evaluation, if they did not have a child.
Previous research shows that fertility issues can have a physical and psychological impact on both partners, with women being considerably more affected.
In fact, there is evidence that unsuccessful fertility treatment may lower quality of life, increase stress levels, anxiety and depression for the couple.
The research team identified 47,515 women who were evaluated for infertility between 1990 and 2006.
On average, the women were about 32 years of age at the fertility evaluation and were followed for an average seven years.
Of the women in the study, 57 percent gave birth to at least one child following the initial infertility treatment, while 43 percent did not give birth.
During the first 12 years following the fertility assessment, the women who did not have a child were up to three times more likely to divorce or end the relationship with the person with whom they were living at the time of the evaluation, compared to women who had a child.
The findings suggest that not having a child after fertility treatment may adversely affect the duration of a relationship for couples with fertility issues, said the study published in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, a journal published by the Nordic Federation of Societies of Obstetrics and Gynecology.