Families created by in vitro fertilization (IVF) in Greece: Parenting stress and parental bonding at adolescence
Background: As in vitro fertilization (IVF) had already been introduced since 1978, follow-up studies, are widely available. It has been speculated, that parents who have undergone fertility treatment, may be overprotective of their children due to the emotional, fiancial and physical barriers they had to surmount in order to conceive. In order to investigate if this speculation carries on to adolescence, we obtained information about experienced parenting stress and recalled parental bonding from (IVF) families and spontaneous conception (SC) families with adolescents.
Method: The sample of the study consisted of 50 dyads adolescents who were born after IVF and their parents, and 50 dyads adolescents born after spontaneous conception (SC). Participants completed questionnaires about parental bonding behavior and parental stress. Descriptive statistics, such as means, standard deviations, and frequencies, were used.
Results: Adolescents’ age ranged from 14 to 18 yrs; mean age 15.94 (SD = 1.20) in IVF and 15.99 (SD = 1.21) in spontaneously conceived. The mean age of IVF and (SC) mothers was 48.38 (SD = 3.68) and 44.9 (SD = 3.59) respectively. The mean age of IVF and (SC) fathers was 50.36 (SD = 5.85) and 48.32 (SD = 4.62) respectively. (SC) parents and especially SC fathers, showed statistically signifiant higher levels of parenting stress in comparison with their IVF counterparts. IVF mothers stated statistically signifiant higher levels of care and lower levels of overprotection to their offspring, in comparison to SC mothers. The same fidings were applicable to IVF fathers as well.
Conclusion: In our study, lower levels of parental stress were found, among IVF parents. IVF families with adolescents seem to be well functioning in Greece, with respect to the economic and human crisis facing the country.
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