The Experience of infertility from the male perspective
Laughlin, Tiffany L.
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Infertility is estimated to occur in 15-20% of couples in the United States. Although infertility has psychosocial consequences of varying intensity for both individuals and couples, available research on infertility predominantly focuses on the woman and her experience. Few studies directly address the male experience of infertility qualitatively. This qualitative study explored the experience of infertility by men, and their perceptions and expectations of healthcare providers and the healthcare system. King's (1981) Theory of Goal Attainment provided the theoretical framework. The setting was a fertility clinic in the Midwest. A purposive sample of six men with a diagnosis of infertility comprised the sample. Data were collected through a demographic questionnaire and open-ended questions, and analyzed using Colaizzi's (1978) method of data analysis. Results indicated complex psychosocial and environmental factors impacted the males in their experience of infertility. Three themes emerged as male perceptions of the infertility experience: (a) goal blockage consisting of feelings of isolation and disappointment, (b) goal adjustment with realistic situational appraisals; as well as embracement of alternative measures to foster goal attainment including positive perceptual adjustments in response to goal blockage, and, (c) active involvement and re-engagement in adjusted goal attainment. Three themes emerged on how healthcare providers can assist men living with infertility: (a) empathy, (b) education, and, (c) guidance. Implications for future nursing practice and education indicate an increased need for anticipatory guidance, and development of a holistic, individualized approach to infertility.
Men - Health and hygiene