Helping themselves to get pregnant: a qualitative longitudinal study on the information-seeking behaviour of infertile couples

Maureen Anne Porter, Siladitya Bhattacharya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

54 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Couples seeking infertility treatment are generally hungry for information about available therapeutic options and how to help themselves achieve pregnancy. This study examined couples' perceptions of the information available from various sources in the context of achieved pregnancy or continuing treatment. METHODS: A 3 year prospective interview study started in April 2004, following couples undergoing infertility treatment at a tertiary fertility clinic at Aberdeen Maternity Hospital. Fifty-four couples were invited to participate. Up to three semi-structured interviews took place, and were analysed thematically using a variation of grounded theory. RESULTS: Twenty-seven couples agreed to participate and of the 25 couples followed up, 11 were diagnosed with unexplained infertility. The age range of the women was 22-41 years. All hoped to be given information on helping themselves to achieve pregnancy, spontaneous or assisted, and 19 of the 25 couples became pregnant. Most couples were dissatisfied with the written and verbal information routinely provided by the fertility clinic because it suggested lifestyle changes they had already attempted to adopt. They sought additional information from the internet, books and magazines. Those who became pregnant were generally empowered by the experience and thought that it had helped them to conceive. Women who were still undergoing treatment however, sometimes became distressed, blaming themselves for failing to follow the lifestyle advice provided. CONCLUSIONS: Couples, especially those diagnosed with unexplained infertility, seek information to help themselves conceive, but only those who succeed find it an empowering experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-572
Number of pages6
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number3
Early online date17 Dec 2007
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008


  • infertility
  • information seeking
  • self-help
  • alternative remedies
  • qualitative study
  • in-vitro fertilization
  • internet


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