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Title: The effects of in-vitro fertilisation on parent-infant communication
Author: Papaligoura, Zaira
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1998
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Precise analytical techniques using video are effective in the evaluation of emotional processes in mother infant communication, and these methods have been successfully applied to demonstrate important effects of maternal emotional disorders, such as post-natal depression. The present thesis proposes that this approach is useful in understanding parent-infant communication when IVF is employed. Communication between parents and IVF infants appears to develop along the "normal" path. When differences were observed, these occurred in both the IVF and INF groups, which indicates that IVF as such does not, in general, affect either parents or their infants, and any effect is due to the infertility experience common to both these groups. The finding that parental 'Caretaking' in both the IVF and INF groups continues in a considerable amount even at infant's age of 21 weeks, when the mothers in the NIP group have almost abandoned this behaviour, could indicate enhanced maternal empathy as a result of the infertility experience, in agreement with Golombok et al. (1996) who found that mothers who conceived through assisted reproduction show more emotional involvement than those with a naturally conceived child. However, this maternal behaviour may not be adaptive. Infants during the first two months of life have emotional sensitivity and can express an intimate personal response. Their engagement in this early period is often interrupted by expressions of need. In the next 2 months, however, together with a decline in the mother's salience as partner for communication and an increase in interest in the surroundings and in objects, there is also a decline in expressions of need. These changes, which originate within the infant, lead the mother to adapt unconsciously. Increased caretaking by mothers in the IVF and INF groups could be viewed as an indication of maternal overprotection, possibly due to prolonged anticipation of pregnancy as a result of infertility.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available