Most couples do not get divorced after infertility struggles

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Couple undergoing fertility treatment.
Couple undergoing fertility treatment.
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Most couples want to have children, and the inability to do so can put strain on their relationship.

It's been suggested that the disappointment of infertility and the stress of treatment can push relationships to the breaking point. However, those who undergo fertility treatment are no more likely to break up, according to a new study.

According to Health24, infertility can be diagnosed when a couple has tried to conceive for longer than a year but is unsuccessful. Normally, a couple will fall pregnant within six to 12 months of trying to conceive.

Benefits to relationship

A study of more than 40 000 women in Denmark who had fertility treatment between 1994 and 2009 found no link between the treatment and separation or divorce. Researchers said 20% split up within 16 years, compared to 22% of women who were not treated.

The study was presented this week at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Geneva, Switzerland.

Researcher Mariana Martins said the findings should reassure couples who have had or are considering in vitro fertilisation.

"Findings on the security of relationships and parenthood can be particularly helpful in supporting patients' commitment to treatment," said Martins, a psychology faculty member at the University of Porto in Portugal.

"We have previously found that subjects who divorce, re-partner and come back to treatment are the ones that five years before had the most stress," she said in a meeting news release.

"We also know that despite all the strain that this infertility can bring, going through [assisted reproduction treatment] can actually bring benefit to a couple's relationship, because it forces them to improve communication and coping strategies."

Read more:

Treatment for infertility: is it ever too late?

Fertility – get the timing right

The A-Z of infertility

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