Objective: To identify the variety and extent of difficulties experienced by infertile women.
Design: A cross-sectional survey study.
Setting: A regional infertility clinic.
Patient(s): Two hundred forty-two women undergoing evaluation and treatment of fertility problems, mostly at the initial stages of treatment.
Intervention(s): List of difficulties administered along with infertility distress and well-being scales.
Main outcome measures: Infertility distress and well-being measures.
Result(s): Twenty-two difficulties resulting from infertility and its treatment were identified. Findings show great variability among women in the extent to which they experience these difficulties. Greater experience of difficulties was related to more distress and lower well-being. Some difficulties were lower for mothers of two or more children, yet even mothers of one child experienced difficulties that were mostly at similar levels to those reported by childless women.
Conclusion(s): It is important to be aware of the great variability among women in their experience of infertility. The list of difficulties identified here, or similar lists identified using this procedure, could assist health care providers and psychosocial counselors in identifying misperceptions of difficulties that result in communication gaps between patients and providers and between patients and spouses.