Understanding the patterns of adjustment to infertility of IVF users using narrative and autobiographical timeline

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Objective: To examine how Hong Kong Chinese women and men coped with and adjusted to the infertility problem over time. Methods: Using purposive sampling and theoretical sampling, nine heterosexual couples and ten women who had completed IVF were recruited. Data were collected using a narrative interviewing technique and autobiographical timeline, based on a grounded theory approach. Results: Regardless of the outcome of IVF, coping with infertility and treatment was emotionally taxing. Four themes relating to the coping experiences were identified and captured innovatively in pictorial and narrative forms. They were: 'one of the many', resilience, recovery and prolonged grief. The findings concurred with the existing literature - coping with infertility is emotionally taxing, and variability exists in the degree of adjustment to infertility, which in turn influences well-being. The study also demonstrated the advantages of creative use of clinical-interview methods in research on couples subjective and lived experience of infertility. Conclusion: The findings suggest that the participants varied in their coping and adjustment to the experience of infertility, with most of them demonstrated positive meanings and resiliency over time. The combined use of both clinical-interview methods helped to facilitate exploration and articulation of the lived experiences of infertility among participants, allowing both in-depth understanding of the phenomenon and adherence to methodological rigor. The clinical-interview research methods can also promote evidence-based reflective practice for researchers and an empowering experience for participants.




Lee, G. L., Blyth, E. D., & Chan, C. L. W. (2012). Understanding the patterns of adjustment to infertility of IVF users using narrative and autobiographical timeline. Asian Pacific Journal of Reproduction, 1(2), 125–134. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2305-0500(13)60063-9

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