Fertility treatment – and no child. What to do?

Lisbeth B. Knudsen, Aalborg University
Lene Toelboell Blenstrup, Aalborg University
Gitte Lindved Petersen, University of Copenhagen
Lone Schmidt, University of Copenhagen

In this paper we present an overview of findings from a large joint study in Denmark, which is recently completed. The main problem to be elucidated was the processes in couples when undergoing fertility treatment, the value and meaning of living with a child, being a parent, how the couples continue their joint lives and families and how they establish an everyday life with children, if the treatment does not lead to childbirth. The basic data stem from a 5 year follow-up study of 1.027 couples in Denmark, initiating fertility treatment 1.1.2000 – 31.8.2001. Both partners completed three rounds of questionnaires, irrespectively whether they achieved pregnancy. The questionnaires include sociodemographic characteristics, attitudes towards continued medical treatment, whether they consider adoption as an option in case of no pregnancy, how they cope with the infertility and whether the two partners have chosen the same strategy of coping. Further, their family situation was followed in registers. We have conducted four separate analyses regarding socio-demographic characteristics of couples not getting pregnant, related to - the couples’ attitudes towards adoption or continued medical treatment after one year of treatment without getting pregnant and their characteristics - the decision paths leading to the couples’ decision to end treatment even though they are still entitled to more trials - whether the couple manage to stay together as a couple during and after the treatment period - whether and how they manage to establish a daily life with close contact to children. The presentation will combine and discuss the various findings into a joint framework of meanings attached to parenthood in late modern society.

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Presented in Poster Session 1

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