Giving up the ghost: an examination of women’s needs in coming to terms with infertility following unsuccessful in-vitro fertilisation treatment

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Walsh, Eimear
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BA (Hons) Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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This study aimed to explore the most salient issues experienced by women faced with definitive infertility and childlessness following unsuccessful in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment as told by the psychotherapists who work with them. A qualitative research design was employed, semi-structured interviews were conducted and analysed in adherence to qualitative content analysis guidelines. The participants were accredited psychotherapists; five females and one male, with clinical experience in working with women who have undergone failed IVF treatment and remained childless thereafter. The findings indicate that definitive infertility and childlessness significantly impact on women’s psychological and emotional well-being, their relationships with their partners and their wider social functioning. There was a general consensus among participants that women were often ill-prepared for both the intensity and demands of IVF treatment and that greater support is required post IVF failure in the process of facilitating women’s acceptance of their infertility.