Psychosocial adjustment during the transition to parenthood of Portuguese couples who conceived spontaneously or through assisted reproductive technologies


  • This study is part of the “Transition to parenthood in families that recurred to Assisted Reproductive Technologies: Parents' personal adjustment, marital relation and parents-infant relationship” research project, integrated in the Relationships, Development & Health research line of the R&D Unit Institute of Cognitive Psychology, Vocational and Social Development of the University of Coimbra (FEDER/POCTI-SFA-160-192). Mariana Moura-Ramos and Sofia Gameiro were supported by PhD Scholarships from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT—SFRH/BD/23152/2005, FCT—SFRH/BD/21584/2005, respectively). The authors would like to thank all families who collaborated with this research project.


We examined the psychosocial adjustment of 35 Portuguese couples who conceived through Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) and 31 couples with a spontaneous conception during their transition to parenthood (pregnancy and 4 months postpartum). Couples completed self-report questionnaires regarding their perceptions of pregnancy and parenthood, psychological distress, quality of life, marital relationship, and parenting stress. Compared with parents who conceived spontaneously, parents who conceived through ART perceived pregnancy as being more risky and demanding, reported a decrease in their psychological quality of life, and ART fathers only perceived themselves as being more competent than fathers who conceived spontaneously. Healthcare professionals should be aware of need of couples in their efforts to adapt to the individual and relational challenges associated with the transition to parenthood. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 33:207–220, 2010