International comparison of parenting styles in ICSI, IVF and natural conception families: Results from a European study

Julie Nekkebroeck, Jacqueline Barnes, Mary-Louise Bonduelle, Ulla-Britt Wennerholm, Ingrid Kristoffersen, A. Loft, Alastair G Sutcliffe

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9 Citations (Scopus)


In studies comparing ART children born in different countries cultural factors mediate outcomes on child development and parenting. The aim of the study was to investigate whether the variability between the parents living in different cultures is the same regardless of whether these parents conceived after ICSI-IVF or naturally. Questionnaires measuring parental wellbeing, attitudes to family life and parent-child relationships were distributed to parents of 5-year-old ICSI, IVF and natural conceived (NC) control children in the UK (n = 510), Belgium (n = 512), Denmark and Sweden (n = 400). Participation rates were not known for every conception group in each country. However, the participation rate was 45% in the ICSI and IVF conception groups in Belgium, 90% in the ICSI conception group in the UK and 82%, 76% and 56% in the ICSI, IVF and NC groups, respectively, in Denmark and Sweden. In the UK mothers and fathers experienced less marital satisfaction compared to their counterparts in the other countries. Compared to the mothers in Belgium and in the Nordic countries, the mothers in the UK who conceived after ICSI, IVF or naturally reported more stress from parenting. In Belgium ICSI, IVF and NC mothers were highly committed to work while Belgian fathers were least committed to parenting when compared to fathers in Nordic countries and the UK. Mothers in Nordic countries differed from other mothers in that they described fewer negative feelings towards their ICSI, IVF or NC offspring. Although international multi-centre ART follow-up studies help to investigate the wellbeing of ART children and parents the effect of living in a particular culture or nation needs to be taken into account.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-349
Number of pages20
JournalEur J Dev Psychol
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • ICSI
  • IVF
  • Parenting styles
  • Country differences


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