This dissertation is a qualitative study of the experiences of women who have undergone in vitro fertilization (IVF), as different factors involved in fertility treatments influence their lives. The primary goal of this study was to explore the themes that emerged from the experiences described by these women, related to how individual aspects (e.g., mental health, differences regarding commitment to treatments), social aspects (e.g., perceived social support, stigmas), and treatment factors (e.g., successful vs. unsuccessful treatments, repeated treatment failure, the financial burdens of IVF, etc.) have had an influence in their life. This study examined the implications of infertility diagnoses and the path through fertility treatment cycle(s). It focused on how infertility diagnosis and fertility treatments affected different aspects of each woman’s life. This study used a phenomenological inquiry with the purpose of understanding the complex process a woman experiences when going through IVF treatment and how this process and all of the variables involved affected her relationships. The goal of this study was to understand these women’s experiences, perceptions, and understandings of their infertility journey through inductive, qualitative methods, in this case through interviews of these 10 women, whose age ranged from 29 to 44 years and who had been diagnosed with infertility and had gone through at least one IVF treatment cycle. Analysis of the data was achieved through an interpretive approach using Colaizzi’s (1978) phenomenological research method. During analysis, patterns were identified across stories that included critical experiences, events, and people acknowledged by the participants as having a significant impact on their development. In addition, themes emerged from the narratives of women related to their infertility journey. Nine themes were identified across all 10 narratives which include (a) emotional roller coaster, (b) successes and pregnancy, (c) appreciation for their pregnancy and motherhood, (d) pressure to conceive, (e) relief, (f) stress and anxiety, (g) loss, (h) coping strategies, and (i) marital relationships.
|Advisor:||Hawkins , Raymond C., II|
|Commitee:||Harris-Britt, April, Cornelius, Allen, Peterson, Brennan|
|School:||Fielding Graduate University|
|Department:||The School of Psychology|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 82/4(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Psychology, Clinical psychology, Womens studies|
|Keywords:||Coping, Fertility, Fertility treatments, In vitro fertilization, Infertility, Marital relationship|
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