Psychosocial Obstetrics and Reproduction

Spermaförvaring i kylda tankar
Donated sperm are stored in liquid nitrogen dewars (-196 C) at Reproduktionsmedicinskt centrum (RMC), Universitetssjukhuset i Linköping.

Within the field of research on bio-psychosocial obstetrics we have the goal of increasing our understanding of conception and development from fetus to new human being. 

We study IVF, oocytes and sperm donation and surrogate motherhood – from the very first conversation at the clinic to follow up several years later.We also carry out research on impaired fertility and medical problems faced during pregnancy. This work includes studies of how the physical and mental health of the mother during pregnancy affect the viability and development of the fetus. We also follow such effects through the development of the newborn baby – from early infancy to adult life.

Psychosocial and reproductive health among women and men born with non-optimal birth-characteristics

Knowledge of the impact of birth-characteristics for women’s and men’s future health and needs is important for advancing the issues of individuals health and in facilitating reproductive planning, future medical, psychological and infertility treatment.

Psychopatological factors including stress have emerged as potentially risk factors for preterm delivery, growth restriction as well as acceleration. Non-optimal birth characteristics related to growth restriction include children born small or large for gestational age (SGA, LGA). The aim of the present study is to continue investigating the impact of non-optimal birth-characteristics, such as SGA, LGA, on mortality, morbidity and reproductive health.

In addition to this we will investigate if personality and psychosomatic health on the one hand is related to birth-characteristics and if they on the other hand are related to these reproductive health and reproductive outcome. All men and women born in Sweden 1973-1993 will be included in the epidemiological part of the study. Data will be retrieved from Swedish population-based registries.

In collaboration with Ann Josefsson, Mats Hammar, Heriberto Rodriguez-Martinez, John Carstensen, Orvar Finnström, Marie Bladh, Susanne Liffner.

The Swedish multicenter study on gamete donation

The main aims of this study are to prospectively study the relationship within receiving couples, parental stress and offspring psychosocial health among 400 couples undergoing oocyte- or spermdonation, and to compare these with control groups of 200 couples undergoing standard IVF-treatment and 200 couples with spontaneous pregnancies.

Further, the personality, motives, ambivalence to donating and short- and long-term satisfaction with the donation are studied among 200 oocyte donors and 200 sperm donors. We also investigate attitudes towards social vs. genetic parenthood and towards offspring right to obtain information of their genetic origin among receiving couples, control groups, donors and health personnel. Finally, we study how the intention of the Swedish law concerning offspring right to obtain information about their genetic origin is being communicated and acted upon.

Surrogacy in Sweden

Single mother and their offspring

In collaboration with assisted professors Claudia Lampic and Agneta Skoog Svanberg, Uppsala

The importance of early bio-psycho-social resiliency and risk factors for the emotional and psychosocial health and adjustment at 20 years of age. A longitudinal study.

The aims of this longitudinal study are to identify bio-psycho-social resiliency and risk factors for a healthy emotional and social development in children during preschool and middle school years and at 20 years of age.

A birth cohort born in the catchment areas of Hässleholm and Western Blekinge between May 1st 1995 and December 31st 1996 were invited to take part in a study on child mental health. The mothers of 1723 children (88 %) accepted, 53 % boys. The children and their families were assessed when the children were 3 months, 3 years and 5.5 years old, 12 years and 20 years.
In collaboration with Professor Carl-Göran Svedin, Sara Agnafors, Lars Oreland, Erika Comasco, Marie Bladh.



Slideshow - In-vitro fertilization, IVF

Arbete med konstgjord befruktning under mikroskop. Stefan Zalavary.
Laboratory director Stefan Zalavary, bringing together oocytes and spermatozoa by using the ICSI (IntraCytoplasmatic Sperminjection)-technique. Thor Balkhed
Konstgjord befruktning under mikroskop, pipetter, skål med vätska
Oocytes and spermatozoa are placed in separate media droplets in a petri dish. Thor Balkhed
The oocyte is handled by the left pipette whereas a spermatozoon is withdrawn by the right pipette. Thor Balkhed
Konstgjord befruktning i närbild
The oocyte is correctly positioned by using a holding pipette. To the right, the tip of the injection pipette is captured containing a spermatozoon.
Konstgjord befruktning i närbild
The injection pipette has now penetrated the zona pellucida (egg-shell) and the plasma membrane of the oocyte. Notice the spermatozoon at the tip of the pipette.
Konstgjord befruktning i närbild
The spermatozoon has just been deposited centrally within the oocyte cytoplasm.  
Befruktat ägg 1
The oocyte is rapidly recovered. No traces of the injection procedure are seen after a few minutes.   Thor Balkhed
Befruktat ägg 2
Five days after the injection the embryo as a whole is known as a blastocyst and contains 100-200 cells. Thor Balkhed
Befruktat ägg 3
Six days after the injection, the blastocyst hatches from the zona pellucida (egg-shell) and will thereafter hopefully implant the uterus. Thor Balkhed