PSYCHOSOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF FAMILIES WITH ICSI CHILDREN AND THESE CHILDREN’S DEVELOPMENT
Background. The aim of the study was to find whether children conceived through ICSI and their families differ from the children conceived in normally fertile families.
Methods. The study group (SG) consisted of 41 children aged 3 years conceived through ICSI: 22 boys, 19 girls, 6 pairs of twins, and the control group (CG) of 41 children matched for sex, age and twin pairs. Family characteristics were assessed using a self-administered questionnaire on family characteristics, conception, pregnancy, labour and delivery, and postpartum period. The children’s development was assessed using the Developmental Čuturić Scale, and the parents filled in the questionnaire from SPP-3 on signs of inadequate child’s adaptation. The mother’s personality was assessed using the BFQ. Differences between the groups were analyzed using SPSS for Windows.
Results. Comparison between the SG and CG showed the following statistically significant differences: in the SG mothers were older, the ICSI child was more frequently the only child, the mean duration of infertility treatment was 4 years, in most couples pregnancy occurred by the 3rd ICSI attempt, the family had a better socio-economic status. During the pregnancy, the SG mothers were less ambivalent towards pregnancy and the relationship between the partners improved, after delivery their psychic condition deteriorated, they were more concerned whether their child would develop normally. In the SG parents’ opinion, the quality of life improved after their baby’s birth; they described their children as more demanding and more restless. More ICSI children were cared after by their grand parents than their CG peers that mostly attended kindergarten. The development of all children was normal. Although the sum of signs of inadequate adaptation was comparable between the groups, the ICSI children demonstrated stronger intensity of individual sings. Factor analysis showed very heterogenic latent structure with many components that explained low percentage of variance; there was a clear connection between child’s signs of inadequate adaptation and maternal personality characteristics. The SG mothers achieved on BFQ a statistically lower score in agreeableness (P = 0.025) and openness (P = 0.008), and a higher score in the unsincerity scale (P = 0.001), i.e. they were more rigid, less open to diversity, less tolerant, tending more to perfection and providing more socially acceptable answers. These characteristics highly correlated with experiencing infertility as an extreme stress and were also in relationship with maternal age.
Conclusions. The development of ICSI children is within the normal range; however, they tend to be at increased risk for emotional problems. There exists a strong correlation between the child’s characteristics and the mother’s personality that has been marked with the experience of infertility and their age.
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