The Effects of Infertility on Parent-Child Relationships and Adjustment

Keith D. Allen, Ken B. Maguire, George E. Williams, Warren G. Sanger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


As medical technology has improved, greater numbers of previously infertile couples have been able to conceive. Evidence of idealized views of parenting and unrealistic expectations for their children has fueled speculation about a possible negative impact of infertility on parent-child relationships. We evaluated the impact of past infertility on parent and child adjustment. Women with a history of infertility (N = 45) or who had voluntarily delayed pregnancy (n = 45) and who had a child 5 years old or younger completed the Parenting Stress Index (PSI) and Child Behavior Checklist. Results showed that mothers who were at one time infertile did not report significantly greater adjustment difficulties for themselves or their children than a comparable group of parents who voluntarily delayed pregnancy. The control group did report significantly higher scores on several subscales of the PSI, indicating that they felt more restricted, isolated, and unsupported than the group with a history of infertility. Neither of the groups, however, showed clinically significant scores on either of the dependent measures. The positive implications of the results are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-105
Number of pages13
JournalChildren's Health Care
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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