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Family interactions in IVF families: change over the transition to parenthood
Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology
Objective: This article presents a study of the change over time in the family interactions of couples who conceived through in-vitro fertilisation (IVF). Background: Observational methods are rarely used to study family interactions in families who used assisted reproductive techniques, but these methods are crucial for taking account of the communication that occurs in interactions with infants. Methods: Thirty-one couples expecting their first child were seen during the fifth month of pregnancy and when the child was nine months old. Family interactions were recorded in pre- and postnatal versions of the Lausanne Trilogue Play situation. Measures of marital satisfaction and parent-to-foetus/baby attachment or 'bonding' were also used to assess family relational dynamics. Results: Results showed that family alliance, marital satisfaction and parental attachment scores in the IVF sample were all similar to or higher than those in the reference sample during pregnancy. However, at nine months postnatally, the family alliance scores were lower. While marital satisfaction decreased over the period and parent-baby attachment increased, the family alliance scores were unstable, as no association was observed between the pre- and postnatal scores. In addition, neither prenatal marital satisfaction nor parent-foetus attachment predicted the postnatal family alliance. Conclusion: The change in the family alliance over the transition to parenthood appears to be specific to our IVF sample. Given that postnatal family functioning could not be predicted by prenatal family functioning, our observational data underline the importance of offering postnatal support to these families.
family alliance , in-vitro fertilisation , observational methods , transition
Web of science
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