Does infertility affect marital quality? A qualitative study
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of infertility on marital quality. A phenomenological perspective guided this qualitative study in order to capture the individual meanings and lived experiences of the participants. A total of 13 women formed the sample for this study. The age of the participants ranged from 27 to 45, with a mean age of 34.6. All women who participated in this study were married, received an infertility diagnosis and received treatment for at least 12 months. The mean length of marriage was 7.9 years and the mean length of treatment was 2.6 years. The semi-structured interviews were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. The transcripts were read by the researcher and coded by emergent themes. Three themes and two subthemes emerged from the data. The themes include, And Baby Makes Glee, Adopting Marital Stress, and Clomid Made Me Crazy. The two subthemes that fall under the first theme, And Baby Makes Three, include Hopefulness and Supportive Spouse. Direct quotations from the participants give life to each theme . The results of this study were compared to current literature regarding marriage and infertility, and conclusions were drawn. Recommendations for family therapists and future research are presented. The findings from this study suggest infertility treatment has a positive effect on marital quality and brings couples closer together. This study suggests the adoption process produces greater stress for couples and negatively effects marital quality. The infertility drug, Clomid, was also found to negatively affect marital quality when taken for treatment.