Infertility is a problem that affects many couples nowadays, representing a stressful, painful, and potentially traumatic experience. After receiving a diagno-sis of infertility, many couples decide to undergo medically assisted reproduction procedures in order to have a child. Both the infertility diagnosis and the subse-quent recourse to such procedures represent a source of stress not only for each partner, but also for the couple as such. Different studies have investigated the role of some variables in modulating the impact of this stress and its effects on individual and relational well-being. The purpose of the present contribution is to explore, in a sample of couples undergoing medically assisted reproduction tech-nologies, the representation that the individual partners have of the quality of the couple relation in light of several variables: (1) socio-demographic, i.e., the part-ners’ age and the duration of the couple relation; (2) medical, such as the cause of infertility and a possible prior history of unsuccessful attempts to conceive; (3) intrapsychic, i.e., the "romantic attachment" style of each partner. The following instruments were administered to 167 couples at the start of a course of medical-ly assisted reproductive treatments: Dyadic Adjustment Scale; Experience in Close Relationship Questionnaire; a form to collect socio-demographic data and medical information. The results indicate that neither the socio-demographic var-iables (partners’ age and relationship duration), nor the medical variables (diag-nosis, number of attempts and treatment typology) seem to have any effect on couple satisfaction, in both the samples of the women and of the men. In con-trast, a significant effect on couple adjustment emerges for abandonment anxie-ty and avoidance in the women while only an effect for avoidance on couple ad-justment emerges in the men. These results reveal gender differences connected to the specific modalities of living through and coping with the experience of in-fertility in men and women. Moreover, they shed light on how in this specific phase the couple seems to function as a container for some of the struggles that turn out to be more individual in nature, challenging clinicians and social workers regarding the type of psychological intervention that is most suitable to this deli-cate phase.
Keywords: Infertility, medically assisted reproduction, couple adjustment, ro-mantic attachment style.
Sara Molgora, Arianna De Donno, Valentina Fenaroli, Maria Pia Baldini, Emanuela Saita, Edgardo Somigliana, Infertility and medically assisted procreation procedures: Couple’s adaptation and romantic attachment style in "RICERCHE DI PSICOLOGIA " 4/2018, pp. 639-658, DOI:10.3280/RIP2018-004006