Men’s accounts of infertility within their intimate partner relationships: an analysis of online forum discussions.

Date

2017-01-19

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Publisher

Taylor and Francis

Type

Article

Peer reviewed

Yes

Abstract

Objective: This article aims to provide insights into men’s accounts of infertility in the context of their intimate partnerships. Background: Although we are beginning to understand that men experience the emotions of infertility acutely, little is known about how such emotions impact on men’s intimate partner relationships. Evidence suggests that infertility can impact intimate partner relationships (both positively and negatively) but there is a paucity of research around how men talk about such relationship impacts, and how they share their stories with other men. Men are often viewed as the silent supporting partner within infertility contexts, with women narrated as taking the burden within the relationship. Methodology: The paper draws on data from a general discussion board on an online men-only forum. Inductive thematic analysis was utilised to identify key themes across the men’s online posts. Results: Men’s posts demonstrate that infertility challenges relationships, and that men use the forum examined to offer each other advice on coping with infertility in their relationships. Men highlighted a sense of having less agency than their female partners in relation to infertility and that they were less able to access support for themselves as a result. Conclusion: We argue that infertility can be a challenging and complex time within intimate partner relationships and that men construct this situation with reference to gendered norms and constraints within their online accounts. Consideration of both parties in couples experiencing infertility is important for supporting relationships during any diagnosis and treatment processes for infertility.

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Citation

Hanna, E.S. and Gough, B. (2017) Men’s accounts of infertility within their intimate partner relationships: an analysis of online forum discussions. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology. 35 (2), pp. 150-158

Rights

Research Institute

Institute for Allied Health Sciences Research
Centre for Reproduction Research (CRR)