The Effect of Family Structure and Family Support on Women’s Coping with Fertility Treatments
Limor Rimer

Aims: To examine the difficulties women experience during fertility treatment, their support systems, and their coping with the treatment, in three family structures—the traditional heterosexual married couple, the single-parent family, and the single-sex family. Design: The study employed a mixed methodology, in which quantitative and qualitative data were gathered simultaneously to explore women’s difficulties while undergoing fertility treatments and their support systems. Methods: A questionnaire that evaluates the women’s coping with the fertility treatments and their support systems, where they exist. The questionnaire was distributed to a simple coincidental sample of 450 women ages 20–45 undergoing fertility treatments in Israel. In addition15 interviews (five from each family structure) were conducted. Results: Family structure affects women’s coping with fertility treatments. Single women underwent more treatments (73.3%), in comparison with married women (65.3%) and women with a female partner (54.7%). Married women reported more emotional support from their family than did single women and women with a female partner and reported fewer negative emotions and more hope regarding the treatments. Women with a female partner reported greater partner support in comparison with married women F (1,298) =121.57, p < .01. Conclusions: The study shows that fertility treatments generate psychological distress that can have a devastating effect on a patient’s psychological well-being, whatever their family type. Yet the potential sources of support do not always know how to behave during treatments or pregnancy loss. Nurses and other personnel should be aware that taking measures to prevent psychological problems that may affect the treatment’s success is crucial, not only to reduce psychological symptoms, but also to improve a patient’s chances of a successful pregnancy. Patients should be offered psychological counseling at every stage of fertility treatment.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/ijn.v7n1a3