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Giving Birth After Fertility Problems Linked to Longer Relationships

Update Date: Jan 30, 2014 02:47 PM EST

Having a child boosts a couple's chances of staying together. A new study found that women who have children after experiencing fertility problems are more likely to remain with their partner.

The latest study revealed that nearly 27 percent of women were no longer living with the partner they had during fertility evaluation if they did not have a child.

Past studies reveal that fertility problems can have a physical and psychological impact on both partners. However, women are significantly more affected. Studies have also shown that unsuccessful fertility treatment can lower quality of life, increase stress levels, anxiety and depression for a couple. However, some other studies show that fertility problems can bring couples closer together through a perception of joint hardship.

"Prior studies show that fertility problems may cause marital or sexual distress for couples, which may potentially lead to separation or divorce," lead author Trille Kristina Kjaer with the Unit of Survivorship at the Danish Cancer Society Research Center in Copenhagen, Denmark, said in a news release. "Our study investigated if women who did not have a child after a fertility evaluation were likely to end the relationship with that partner."

The latest study used data from 47,515 Danish women who were evaluated for infertility between 1990 and 2006. The women in the study had an average age of 32, and were followed for an average of seven years.

The findings revealed that 57 percent of women gave birth to at least one child following initial fertility treatment.

Researchers also found that women who did not give birth were up to three times more likely to divorce or end the relationship with the person with who they were living with at the time of fertility evaluation compared to those who gave birth.

"Our findings suggest that not having a child after fertility treatment may adversely affect the duration of a relationship for couples with fertility issues. Further investigations that account for marital quality and relational wellbeing of couples with fertility problems are now needed," Kjaer concluded.

The findings are published in the journal Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica.

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