Birthing understanding : an examination of the female experience of infertility.

Date of Award


Document Type



Caspersen School of Graduate Studies

Degree Name

Master of Medical Humanities


The aim of this paper is to identify the impact of reproductive problems on women's lives and help readers gain a better understanding of the female experience of infertility from the time a woman discovers difficulty with conception through the duration of the fertility-treatment process. The paper explains that adequate understanding of the experience is lacking and needs to improve. An improvement in understanding the experience of infertility among medical professionals, family, friends, and the community has the ability to ameliorate emotional and social components and diminish suffering. Stories from women and medical professionals addressing seven elements of the female infertility experience are presented to achieve this goal. Once the stories conclude, analyses of both perspectives are made regarding the elements of the female infertility experience. The availability of resources for women is addressed, and possible solutions to improve the overall female experience of infertility are provided. The female experience of infertility will be the focus. Despite the fact that men have a role in creating children, the goal of this paper is to understand infertility from the female perspective. ... The existing literature shows that the topic of infertility is the focus of many researchers. The literature also demonstrates that more work needs to continue to gain a better understanding of the topic. Attempts are being made in many different fields within the biomedical and social sciences to improve knowledge about infertility, and this paper will expand on the existing research by viewing the topic through the lens of medical humanities. This paper fills an important void in existing research by examining both female and medical professional perspectives on the topic and assessing the experience holistically. A better understanding of the depth of human experience is possible due to the important contribution the field of medical humanities makes to various other disciplines researching aspects of the topic. To the author's knowledge, there is no existing research looking at female and medical professional perspectives on the female infertility experience within one piece of research. The selection of research pertaining to the topic mentioned here shows that infertility presents a major problem in the lives of the women it affects-- Excerpted from introduction.