Exploring the lived experiences of infertility treatment and care by involuntarily childless women

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 27, issue 3, 2017 , pages: 267–272
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2017.1321855
Author(s): Athena PedroDepartment of Psychology, South Africa, Brendon D. FaroaDepartment of Psychology, South Africa


This study explored the lived experiences of fertility treatment and care by South African women with infertility. A total of 21 women from different age and ethnic groups (age range = 26 to 41; whites = 53%, coloured = 47%) were interviewed for the study. The women responded to semi-structured interviews on their lived experiences of fertility treatment and care whilst undergoing treatment. The data were analysed using thematic analysis. Four main themes were identified in the study; including: lack of compassionate care from treatment care providers, the need for infertility clinics to integrate psychosocial support care, a need for continuing education for fertility staff, as well as financial support resourcing. Participants expressed a need for health care staff at fertility clinics to be more attentive to their emotional and psychological needs. In addition, participants perceived a need for psychosocial care as a result of the distressing nature of the treatment process. The women also felt that some health care staff lacked technical knowledge about the fertility treatments and this left them deprived of crucial information. The costly nature of fertility treatment presented as an added burden for participants. Overall, participants seemed to require a more individualised and patient centred form of fertility care.

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