The Experience of Female Infertility: Who Do Women Talk To When They Cannot Conceive?




Cruthirds, Sarah

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The psychological effects of infertility on women are documented well in the research literature. However, a pervasive notion still exists that women do not want to speak about their experiences with infertility. Challenging this, women, in recent years, have been using social media to share their stories about infertility, but the stories often seen are from women with ‘happy endings.’ Where are the stories from women who never have a child, from the women who cannot adopt? To understand this issue, a survey was developed, focused on understanding the relationships between a woman’s sense of self and motherhood, how she experienced infertility, and who she chooses to communicate with about her experiences. The survey did not yield any data; thus, the objective of this project became a review of existing literature, assessing gaps in the literature, and proposing methods for filling those gaps. The conclusion: women who do not communicate about their experiences with infertility experience a changed sense of self which affects their views on being a woman, motherhood, and whether they will share their stories with others, either verbally or on social media.



Medical Anthropology