Effects of novel reproductive techniques on marital satisfaction, sex role, and self-esteem

The purpose of this thesis is to investigate what happens to marital satisfaction in husband and wife when a child is produced who is not genetically linked to the father; to determine the effects, if any, of the use of artificial insemination with donor sperm (AID) versus husband sperm (AIR) on self-esteem of both husbands and wives and on their self reports of masculinity and femininity; and to assess the outcome of insemination (pregnancy or no pregnancy) and its interaction with the use of AID versus AIR on some of these dependent measures. Seventy-four couples from the Tyler Medical Clinic in Los Angeles who had used either AID or AIR, and either had or had not achieved pregnancy responded to a questionnaire which assessed marital satisfaction, sexual dissatisfaction, self-esteem, and feelings of masculinity and femininity. Analyses of variance and multivariate analyses of variance identified several effects, most of them weak. The effects that were found suggest that infertile couples have lower overall marital consensus (particularly among those who achieve pregnancy through artificial insemination) and higher marital cohesion than a normative sample. Cohesion was particularly high for those who had used AID and failed to achieve pregnancy; it was lowest for those who had achieved pregnancy through AID. There was also a small but reliable difference in self-esteem and anxiety about use of method among those who had used AID; they were lower in self-esteem and higher in anxiety than users of AIH. Men who agreed to use AID had more communion-like characteristics (as measured by the PAQ) than those who used AIH, while both men and women reported more numerous masculine characteristics if they used AIR for 11 or more cycles of insemination. (See more in text.)