Many couples break up over infertility

Couples with fertility problems are more likely to stay together if they eventually have a child together, new research indicates.

Previous studies have shown that fertility problems can have a massive impact - both physically and psychologically - on couples, particularly women. Some studies have even found that undergoing unsuccessful fertility treatment may increase stress and depression levels and lower overall quality of life.

However, other studies have found that fertility problems can bring couples closer together, so Danish researchers decided to look into this further.

They identified over 45,000 women who had been evaluated for fertility issues between 1990 and 2006. The women were around 32 when they were first evaluated and they were followed up for several years.

Among the participants, 57% went on to have at least one child following their initial treatment for infertility, while 43% did not have any children.

The study found that women who had a child after experiencing fertility issues were more likely to still be with the same partner. In the 12 years after the initial fertility assessment, women who did not have any children were up to three times more likely to have divorced or separated from the person they were with at that time.

"Our findings suggest that not having a child after fertility treatment may adversely affect the duration of a relationship for couples with fertility issues. Further investigations that account for marital quality and relational wellbeing of couples with fertility problems are now needed," the researchers said.