Fertility issues can have a psychological and psychosocial impact on both partners, with women being considerably more affected. In fact, there is evidence that unsuccessful fertility treatment may lower quality of life, increase stress levels, anxiety and depression for the couple. Yet, there are other studies that report fertility problems may bring couples closer together through a perception of joint hardship — a concept known as “marital benefit”.

A Danish research reveals that women who have a child after experiencing fertility problems are more likely to remain with their partner. Findings in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica indicate that after 12 years of follow-up, nearly 27% of women were no longer living with the partner, which they had at the time of fertility evaluation, if they did not have a child.

Of the women in the study, 57% gave birth to at least one child following the initial infertility treatment, while 43% did not give birth. During the first 12 years following the fertility assessment the women who did not have a child were up to three times more likely to divorce or end the relationship with the person with whom they were living at the time of the evaluation, compared to women who had a child.

The findings suggest that 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.