Eligible studies investigated perinatal psychological or social functioning after assisted reproductive technology treatment. Interventions comprised: oocyte retrieval, including in vitro fertilization (IVF); intracytoplasmic sperm injection with fresh or cryopreserved embryos; and gamete intra-fallopian transfer. Excluded were intrauterine insemination with partner or donor sperm or ovulation induction. Mixed samples including assisted reproductive technology and intrauterine insemination with partner, donor sperm or ovulation induction were eligible. Excluded studies also comprised clinical case reports, investigations of sex selection, disclosure of use of donor gametes, multi-foetal reduction, single and lesbian mothering, surrogacy, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, parenting of children older than 12 months and child health and development.
Included studies mostly compared an assisted reproductive technology group with a comparison group presumed to have conceived spontaneously. Most included studies were prospective cohort studies; various recruitment strategies were used within the included studies (including consecutive cohorts of assisted reproductive technology participants or non-systematic sampling). Comparison groups varied: some were drawn from large populations of presumed fertile childbearing women and others were drawn from smaller and more homogenous populations. Outcomes included emotional well-being, anxiety and attitude to pregnancy and a variety of other measures. Included studies investigated women; just under half recruited couples and some reported data for men. Recruitment rates of at least 75% of the eligible assisted reproductive technology populations were achieved in most studies.
Two reviewers independently selected studies for inclusion in the review.