The Lived Experience of Women Who Quit Assisted Reproductive Technology Without the Birth of a Live Child and Remained Childless
Review TypeNone: Degree-based Submission
Repository Posting Date2019-09-03T14:43:43Z
Author(s)Millenbach, Linda L.
Author DetailsDr. Linda L. Millenbach, RN, PhD
Lead Author Sigma AffliationTau Kappa at-Large
Level of EvidencePhenomenology
Research ApproachQualitative Research
CINAHL HeadingsInfertility -- Psychosocial Factors; Reproduction Techniques; Attitude to Pregnancy; Infertility
The purpose of this study was to describe the experience of women who quit assisted reproductive technology (ART) without the birth of alive child and remained childless. The review of the literature revealed that infertility has increased and is projected to increase in the future. Infertility has become a medical condition with ART as its cure. ART has made infertility a matter of choice. The decision to stop ART was reported to be not a failure of the reproductive physiology but a failure of personal will. A cultural expectation for women to be mothers and a cultural stigma for women who are childless exist. Social and medical pressure is reported to be present to continue ART. There have not been any studies that examined how women quit ART and remained childless in a culture that does not value quitting, values motherhood, stigmatizes women who were childless, and deems technology as the cure for infertility. The research question of this study was “What is the lived experience of women who quit assisted reproductive technology without the birth of a live child and remained childless?” A descriptive phenomenological methodology was chosen to describe this experience. The sample consisted of 12 Caucasian, middle-class working women who lived in the eastern region of the United States and stopped ART between 1990 and 2000. These women were purposefully sampled. Interviews were audiotaped and transcribed by the researcher. Collaizzi's (1978) method of phenomenological analysis was used and nine themes emerged from that data. The themes for women who stopped ART without the birth of alive child and remained childless were that they: (1) had rational reasons for stopping ART, (2) had caring expectations of health care workers, (3) developed various methods of control over ART, (4) created a new life without their own biological or adopted child, (5) valued and desired the support of other women who had experienced ART, (6) had to deal with feelings of social isolation and being an outsider, (7) grieved and may not have resolved their grief, (8) had their marriage/relationship impacted by quitting ART, and (9) ruled out adoption if either spouse was uncomfortable with it. This study had nine findings that had not been reported in the literature. These findings were women: (1) made the rational choice to stop ART based on rational reasons, (2) believed that worse things could have happened to them besides infertility, (3) had caring expectations of health care workers, (4) had their expectations met if they were “insiders,” (5) could have had their expectations of health care workers met if the health care worker practiced Peplau's (1952) theory of nursing, (6) perceived their inability to create a legacy as a biological failure, (7) did not perceive themselves as a failure because they could not have a child, (8) found the use of online chat rooms to contact other women who did ART valuable, and (9) had to deal with the assumption that they would do whatever was necessary to have a child including having a child without their husband. The women in this study were very much in control of the decision to quit ART. They did not see themselves as quitters but as women who made a rational choice to stop ART based on rational reasons. They made the decision to stop infertility treatment with or without the support of their health care workers, who frequently wanted them to continue treatment.
DescriptionThis dissertation has also been disseminated through the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. Dissertation/thesis number: 3014278; ProQuest document ID: 250901021. The author still retains copyright.
Degree GrantorAdelphi University
NotesThis item has not gone through this repository's peer-review process, but has been accepted by the indicated university or college in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the specified degree.
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