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What does having a fertility problem mean to couples?

Glover, Lesley; McLellan, Ashleigh; Weaver, Susan M.


Lesley Glover

Ashleigh McLellan

Susan M. Weaver


The meaning of fertility problems for couples and how partners differed in their appraisals of their fertility problems were the main areas of interest in this research. Ten couples recruited via an infertility clinic took part in semi-structured interviews, which were analysed using inductive thematic analysis. Two super-ordinate themes emerged: 'Expectations of life - "What's it all about?"' highlighted the lifecycle expectations people have and the reflections infertile couples undertake about parenthood and their relationship. 'Dealing with ongoing fertility problems - "When it doesn't happen how we expect"' presented perceptions of fertility treatment alongside differing responses to ongoing infertility, with feelings of resentment and acceptance emerging. Communication was revealed to play an important yet complex role in the experience of continued fertility problems. Gender differences were highlighted in the meaning of infertility and the importance of biological parenthood and also in the amount, nature and purpose of communication. The implications for research and counselling which is focused on 'couples' are discussed.


Glover, L., McLellan, A., & Weaver, S. M. (2009). What does having a fertility problem mean to couples?. Journal of reproductive and infant psychology, 27(4), 401-418.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 8, 2008
Online Publication Date Oct 15, 2009
Publication Date 2009-11
Deposit Date Nov 13, 2014
Journal Journal Of Reproductive And Infant Psychology
Print ISSN 0264-6838
Electronic ISSN 1469-672X
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 27
Issue 4
Article Number PII 915246247
Pages 401-418
Keywords Infertility; Qualitative methods
Public URL
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