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Couples' Resolution of an Infertility Diagnosis Before Undergoing in Vitro Fertilization
Swiss Journal of Psychology
Although the use of assisted reproductive technology has today become more familiar, the suffering associated with the experience of infertility remains. This study assesses the emotional resolution of couples faced with an infertility diagnosis by examining their narratives. Fifty-seven couples were recruited from fertility clinics to participate in a semistructured interview prior to in vitro fertilization. Two aspects of the couples' reactions to the infertility diagnosis were assessed: (1) each individual's capacity to acknowledge the emotional reality of the diagnosis (diagnosis resolution) and (2) the couple's ability to construct a shared meaning of the infertility diagnosis experience (narrative co-construction). Associations between these aspects and self-reported marital satisfaction, infertility-related stress, and diagnosis-related variables were analyzed. 73.7% of women and 61.4% of men had acknowledged the emotional reality of the diagnosis, and their scores for narrative co-construction were comparable to reference samples. Marital satisfaction, but not infertility-related stress, was associated with diagnosis resolution and narrative co-construction. The results indicate the importance of detecting couples with fewer individual and marital resources needed to face the reality of the diagnosis. A couple's capacity to perceive the infertility diagnosis as a shared problem is also essential for dealing with this common life event.
emotional reactions, infertility diagnosis, infertility-related stress, marital satisfaction, narratives
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