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Relationship satisfaction in lesbian and heterosexual couples before and after assisted reproduction: a longitudinal follow-up study
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health, Obstetrics and Gynaecology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1254-9194
Karolinska Institutet, Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society.
3Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Department of Clinical and experimental Medicine, Faculty of Health and Science, Linköping University. Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics in Linköping, County Council of Östergötland, Linköping, Sweden..
3Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Department of Clinical and experimental Medicine, Faculty of Health and Science, Linköping University. Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics in Linköping, County Council of Östergötland, Linköping, Sweden..
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2014 (English)In: BMC Women's Health, ISSN 1472-6874, E-ISSN 1472-6874, Vol. 14, 154Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: More and more lesbian couples are planning parenthood through donor insemination and IVF and the number of planned lesbian families is growing in Sweden and other western countries. Research has shown that lesbian couples report as much overall satisfaction in their relationships as do heterosexual couples. However, although parenthood is highly desired, many parents are unaware of the demands of parenthood and the strain on their relationship that the arrival of the baby might bring. The aim of this study was to compare lesbian and heterosexual couples? perceptions of relationship satisfaction at a three-year follow up after assisted reproduction. Methods: The present study is a part of the Swedish study on gamete donation, a prospective longitudinal cohort study. The present study constitutes a three-year follow up assessment of lesbian and heterosexual couples after assisted reproduction. Participants requesting assisted reproduction at all fertility clinics performing gamete donation in Sweden, were recruited consecutively during 2005? 2008. A total of 114 lesbian women (57 treated women and 57 partners) and 126 heterosexual women and men (63 women and 63 men) participated. Participants responded to the ENRICH inventory at two time points during 2005? 2011; at the commencement of treatment (time point 1) and about three years after treatment termination (time point 3). To evaluate the bivariate relationships between the groups (heterosexual and lesbian) and socio-demographic factors Pearsons Chi- square test was used. Kolmogorov-Smirnov test was used for testing of normality, Mann? Whitney U-test to examine differences in ENRICH between the groups and paired samples t-test to examine scores over time. Results: Lesbian couples reported higher relationship satisfaction than heterosexual couples, however the heterosexual couples satisfaction with relationship quality was not low. Both lesbian and heterosexual couples would be classified accordingly to ENRICH-typology as vitalized or harmonious couples. Conclusions: At a follow-up after assisted reproduction with donated sperm, lesbian couples reported stable relationships and a high satisfaction with their relationships, even when treatment was unsuccessful.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 14, 154
Keyword [en]
lesbian couples, sperm donation, relationships, assisted reproduction
National Category
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
Research subject
Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-209983DOI: 10.1186/s12905-014-0154-1ISI: 000348231400001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-209983DiVA: diva2:660304
Available from: 2013-10-29 Created: 2013-10-29 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Same, same but different: Lesbian couples undergoing sperm donation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Same, same but different: Lesbian couples undergoing sperm donation
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Introduction: The desire to have children and form a family is for many people central for life fulfilment and the desire does not differ by sexual orientation. Due a series of societal changes during the last decade, today we see a lesbian baby boom. Planned lesbian families are a relatively new group of patients and parents in reproductive health care, yet little is known about psychological wellbeing during the transition to parenthood in these families. Aim: The overall aim of this thesis was to fill a gap of knowledge about the psychological aspects of undergoing treatment with donated sperm, at the time of pregnancy and during early parenthood that affect lesbian couples forming a family. Method: This is a multicentre study comprising all 7 university clinics that perform gamete donation. The study includes lesbian couples undergoing treatment with donated sperm and heterosexual couples undergoing IVF treatment with their own gametes. Participants were recruited consecutively during 2005 and 2008. 165 lesbian couples and 151 heterosexual couples participated in the study. Participants responded questionnaires at three time points (T); time point 1 (T1) at the commencement of treatment, (T2) after the first round of treatment, around 2 month after T1 and (T3) 12-18 months after first treatment when a presumptive child had reached 1 year. Data was analysed with statistical methodology. Results: Lesbian couples reported an all over high satisfaction with relationship quality, good psychological wellbeing and low parenting stress. Heterosexual couples also reported good satisfaction with relationship quality, however somewhat lower than the lesbian couples. Parenting stress in the heterosexual couples was similar to the lesbian couples. A strong association was found between high relationship satisfaction and low parenting stress. Conclusions: Lesbian couples forming a family through sperm donation treatment are satisfied with their relationships, they report a good psychological health and experiences of low parenting stress. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2013. 63 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 952
Keyword
Lesbian couples, sperm donation, assisted reproduction, relationship quality, symptoms of anxiety and depression, parenting stress
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
Research subject
Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-209985 (URN)978-91-554-8803-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-12-13, Gustavianum, Auditorium Minus, Uppsala, 09:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-11-21 Created: 2013-10-29 Last updated: 2014-01-23

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Borneskog, CatrinSvanberg, Agneta Skoog

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