Characteristics of early mother–infant and father– infant interactions: A comparison between assisted reproductive technology and spontaneous conceiving parents

Francesca Agostini, Federica Andrei, Erica Neri, Elena Trombini, Francesca Nuccini, Maria Teresa Villani, Lorenzo Aguzzoli, Marcella Paterlini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study aims to describe parents’ and infant’s interactive styles after assisted reproduction treatments (ART), to compare them with parent–infant interactions after spontaneous conception (SC), and to assess the effect of specific ART variables (cause of infertility, treatment type, and previous ART attempts) on interaction quality. The sample included 25 ART conceiving couples and 31 SC couples with their 3-months-old babies. Free parent–infant interactions (3–5 min) were coded using the CARE-Index, a video-based assessment scale that gives both dimensional (e.g., sensitivity, control, passivity) and categorical scores (sensitive, inept, at-risk) for parents and infants. Results showed a global similarity between groups in CARE-Index dimensions. Nevertheless, differences emerged in categorical scores, as the interactive patterns of ART parents were more frequently classified as “inept” and “at-risk” compared to SC parents. With regards to ART dyads only, infants conceived through intracytoplasmic sperm injection scored significantly lower to the dimension compulsivity and higher to passivity, compared to infants conceived through in vitro fertilization. Yet, infants conceived at the first ART cycle had significantly lower levels of difficulty than infants conceived after one ART attempt. These results speak about the existence of important parent–infant interactive differences related to conception modality and ART technique and suggest the need to implement support programs to promote more sensitive parenting styles.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8215
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume17
Issue number21
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2020

Keywords

  • Assisted reproductive technology
  • Fathers
  • ICSI
  • IVF
  • Mothers
  • Parental sensitivity
  • Parenting
  • Parent–infant interactions
  • Previous ART

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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