Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

Great expectations of IVF patients: the role of gender, dispositional optimism and shared IVF prognoses

Devroe, J., Peeraer, K., D'Hooghe, T. M., Boivin, J. ORCID:, Laenen, A., Vriens, J. and Dancet, E. A. F. 2022. Great expectations of IVF patients: the role of gender, dispositional optimism and shared IVF prognoses. Human Reproduction 37 (5) , pp. 997-1006. 10.1093/humrep/deac038

[thumbnail of Boivin. Great expectations of IVF.pdf]
PDF - Accepted Post-Print Version
Download (607kB) | Preview


STUDY QUESTION Which success rates do female and male IVF patients expect, what determines their expectations and do patients reconsider their expectations after receiving a personal IVF prognosis at the expense of anxious reactions? SUMMARY ANSWER Female and male IVF patients have unrealistic high expectations which are positively associated with their dispositional optimism, and which are only reconsidered by patients receiving a less than average IVF prognosis, which leads to more anxious reactions in females. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY Female patients undergoing IVF are known to have unrealistic expectations of the success of their own IVF cycle. The available evidence suggests women expect above average performance of their fertility clinic and (family) reproductive systems. The association of gender and personality trait dispositional optimism, with expectations of IVF success and the impact of providing couples with their IVF prognosis have not been studied previously. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION A total of 148 partnered individuals participated in this prospective survey at two separate points in treatment: following oocyte aspiration (T1) and embryo transfer (T2) (2019–2020, participation rate = 85%). At the time of embryo transfer, gynaecologists provided couples with their IVF prognosis, calculated with the Adapted van Loendersloot model. Women and their male partners completed questionnaires independently and immediately following oocyte aspiration and embryo transfer. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS Dispositional optimism (‘LOT-R’ questionnaire) and expectations of IVF success (numerical rating scale) were assessed in eligible couples commencing a 2nd–6th IVF cycle on T1. Expectations of IVF success and anxiety (‘Spielberger State-Anxiety Inventory’) were (re)assessed on T2. The inter-partner correlation of expectations of IVF success was examined. Linear mixed models examined hypothesized determinants of expectations of IVF success (T1) and explored (determinants of) whether participants reconsidered their expectations after receiving their IVF prognosis (T1–T2) and whether couple’s IVF prognosis was associated with anxious reactions (T2). MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE The mean of the IVF success rates expected by patients immediately after oocyte aspiration was 59.1% (±20.0), irrespective of gender (P = 0.077). Partners expectations of IVF success were moderately correlated (r = 0.483; P < 0.001). Expectations of IVF success were positively associated with the participant’s dispositional optimism (P < 0.001) but were not associated with their partner’s dispositional optimism, women’s age and their previous (un)successful IVF experiences. Gynaecologists gave couples their calculated IVF prognosis ranging from 4.8% to 69.2% (mean = 30.9%) at the time of embryo transfer. Gender did not influence whether participants reconsidered their expectations after receiving their prognosis. In contrast to the subgroup (n = 78), who received at least an average IVF prognosis and that did not reconsider their expectations of IVF success, the subgroup (n = 70) receiving a below average IVF prognosis lowered their expectations of IVF success (interaction effect: P < 0.001) from 55% to 46%. A below average IVF prognosis was associated with anxious reactions in women but not in men (interaction effect: P = 0.011). LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION The study design and sample size were more optimal for examining hypothesized determinants of patient’s expectations of IVF success than for studying the impact of sharing prognoses with patients. Whether (reconsidering) expectations influences IVF discontinuation rates and achieved live birth rates has yet to be followed-up. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS Clinics are advised to offer patients the opportunity of receiving their IVF prognosis. Providing prognoses is in line with patient preferences and tempers the unrealistic high expectations of both partners in couples with a less than average prognosis. A sensitive communication style is indicated, as lower prognoses are associated with mild anxious reactions in women. STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S) E.A.F.D. holds a postdoctoral fellowship of the Research Foundation—Flanders (12H9819N) and this study was funded by the Research Council of the KU Leuven (C14/18/106; project of J.V., K.P. and E.A.F.D.) and as an investigator sponsored study of K.P. and E.A.F.D. by Merck nv/sa Belgium, an affiliate of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. The authors declare no conflict of interest related to this study

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology
ISSN: 0268-1161
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 25 April 2022
Date of Acceptance: 10 February 2022
Last Modified: 25 Feb 2023 18:18

Citation Data

Cited 1 time in Scopus. View in Scopus. Powered By Scopus® Data

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics