In Vitro Fertilization Can Negatively Affect Sexual Relationships


In-vitro fertilization (IVF) tends to result in less sexual satisfaction and worsening sexual relationships, according to researchers from Indiana University.

IVF is a difficult procedure, full of stress and uncertainty, and can tax couples emotionally as well as physically, say Nicole Smith, a doctoral student with the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington and Jody Lyneé Madeira, associate professor in the IU Maurer School of Law.

Their trial, which used the Sexual Functioning Questionnaire, looked at a woman's sexual experiences and the sexual health of couples as they go through assisted reproductive treatments, becoming the first of its kind to do so.

The findings are seemingly at odds with the fact that sex is an important aspect of, not the IVF process itself, but the many years leading up to the process.

IVF requires that eggs be removed from the woman's ovaries and fertilized in the lab ("in vitro") by the male's sperm. Following the development of embryos, they are then returned to the woman's uterus.

Normally, IVF doesn't come into the picture for a couple after they have tried for many years to get pregnant and failed. Couples report feeling like scientific experiments, and that the romance and spontaneity of the sexual experience is lost in the regimental, planned sexual encounters.

The researchers wrote:

"Sex is for pleasure and for reproduction, but attention to pleasure often goes by the wayside for people struggling to conceive."

Overall, the researchers found that compared to women not undergoing IVF, women in the process of IVF:

-- Experienced less desire for sex;
-- Were less satisfied in their sexual relationships
-- Were less likely to reach orgasm
-- Were more likely to report vaginal pain and dryness

And these problems don't get better over time, they only get worse.

The researchers note that sex is probably the last thing on the minds of couples when talking to their doctors about IVF and other treatments. Still, the long term effects pose a threat to the relationship and deserve a place in the overall approach to IVF therapy.

Source: MNT


The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational purposes and does not constitute the practice of medicine. We encourage all visitors to see a licensed physician or nutritionist if they have any concerns regarding health issues related to diet, personal image and any other topics discussed on this site. Neither the owners or employees of nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.

Login or Sign Up