Fear and experience of childbirth among women who conceived with donated oocytes: a prospective cohort study

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The aim of this study was to compare the level of fear of childbirth, pregnancy-related anxiety and experience of childbirth in women who conceived with donated oocytes (OD), with that in women with in vitro fertilization/intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (IVF/ICSI) and spontaneous conception (SC).

Material and methods.

This is a prospective cohort study. We compared women who received donated oocytes (n = 26) to matched controls, IVF/ICSI (n = 52) or SC (n = 52). Matching was made according to mothers' age, parity, plurality and the number of returned questionnaires. The participants completed the questionnaires during their second trimester and at 2 months postpartum. The Fear of Delivery Questionnaire and the Pregnancy Anxiety Scale served to study fear of childbirth, and the Delivery Satisfaction Scale served to study experience of childbirth.


The level of fear of childbirth was lower in the women who received donated oocytes than in the women who received IVF/ICSI (p = 0.028), but similar to those in the SC group. The level of pregnancy-related anxiety was lower in the OD group than in the IVF/ICSI (p = 0.006) and SC groups (p = 0.019). The experience of childbirth did not differ between the groups. The mode of delivery was associated with the mothers' satisfaction with the delivery only in the OD group. Those who had an acute operative delivery were the most dissatisfied.


After receiving adequate support prior to OD treatment, the women require no more support with fear of childbirth than other pregnant women, but they may require support after acute operative deliveries.

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