The proposed research applies a general help-seeking model to the study of human infertility with a focus on pathways to treatment and outcomes of infertility. At least one-third of American women experience biomedical barriers to fertility sometime in their lives, and the numbers may rise with the trend toward delayed childbearing. Less than half of those with bio-medical barriers seek medical treatment. This five-year research project begins with telephone interviews with a sample of 5,700 women and their partners, including an over-sample of women of color. Three years later, all childless women and women who intend additional children plus a sub-sample of other women (again, and their partners) will be reinterviewed. The reinterview is critical for two reasons. First, it allows us to use time 1 characteristics to predict pathways and outcomes for those who newly experience fertility problems and those who have already experienced fertility barriers but have not pursued treatment or, in many cases, even recognized their infertility. Second, because infertility resolution is not a single decision but a complex process with many alternative routes, the reinterview will allow examination of reciprocal effects, including the effect of time 1 distress on help seeking. The study has four aims: 1) Test a general model of medical help-seeking applied to infertility; 2) Identify the consequences of infertility for individual social psychological outcomes, identities, and social relationships; 3) Assess prevalence of concerns about the ethics of assisted reproductive technologies, including the extent to which ethical concerns act as a barrier to treatment; and 4) Provide a public use data set for other researchers who are interested in issues of fertility, infertility, helpseeking, and well being among adults. Documenting and explaining disparities by race/ethnicity and social class in helpseeking, in behavioral outcomes of helpseeking, and in psychosocial responses will be a concern at every stage.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Project (R01)
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Social Sciences, Nursing, Epidemiology and Methods 4 (SNEM)
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King, Rosalind B
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University of Nebraska Lincoln
Social Sciences
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Shreffler, Karina M; Greil, Arthur L; McQuillan, Julia (2017) Responding to Infertility: Lessons From a Growing Body of Research and Suggested Guidelines for Practice. Fam Relat 66:644-658
Shreffler, Karina M; Greil, Arthur L; McQuillan, Julia et al. (2016) Reasons for tubal sterilisation, regret and depressive symptoms. J Reprod Infant Psychol 34:304-313
Shreffler, Karina M; Greil, Arthur L; Mitchell, Katherine Stamps et al. (2015) Variation in pregnancy intendedness across U.S. women's pregnancies. Matern Child Health J 19:932-8
Shreffler, Karina M; McQuillan, Julia; Greil, Arthur L et al. (2015) Surgical sterilization, regret, and race: contemporary patterns. Soc Sci Res 50:31-45
Johnson, Katherine M; Fledderjohann, Jasmine (2012) Revisiting ""her"" infertility: medicalized embodiment, self-identification and distress. Soc Sci Med 75:883-91
Greil, Arthur L; Johnson, Katherine M; McQuillan, Julia et al. (2011) Are prior pregnancy outcomes relevant for models of fertility-specific distress or infertility helpseeking? Hum Fertil (Camb) 14:160-6
Greil, Arthur L; McQuillan, Julia; Lowry, Michele et al. (2011) Infertility treatment and fertility-specific distress: A longitudinal analysis of a population-based sample of U.S. women. Soc Sci Med 73:87-94
Greil, Arthur L; Shreffler, Karina M; Schmidt, Lone et al. (2011) Variation in distress among women with infertility: evidence from a population-based sample. Hum Reprod 26:2101-12
McQuillan, Julia; Greil, Arthur L; Shreffler, Karina M (2011) Pregnancy intentions among women who do not try: focusing on women who are okay either way. Matern Child Health J 15:178-87
Shreffler, Karina M; Johnson, David R; Scheuble, Laurie K (2010) Ethical Problems with Infertility Treatments: Attitudes and Explanations. Soc Sci J 47:731-746

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