Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

ORCID

https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2221-7529

Date of Award

Fall 2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Department of Graduate Psychology

Advisor(s)

Debbie C. Sturm

Angela R. Staton

Robin D. Anderson

Abstract

ABSTRACT

It is estimated 10-15% of women aged 20-45 or 1 in 4 to 6 couples are unable to get pregnant after one year of trying to conceive. This failure to conceive within 12 months without contraception meets the requirements for a diagnosis of infertility (Association for Reproductive Medicine [ASRM], 2014). With such a large percent of the United States population navigating the world of fertility treatment, the field of mental health must also evolve, offering new areas of specialty to address this specific client population. Couples face significant concerns while undergoing fertility treatment as they cope with complex decision-making, rigid medication schedules, side-effects, and the ongoing process of dealing with the diagnosis of infertility (Griel, Slausen-Belvins & McQuillan, 2010). This highlights the increasing need for counselors to become educated and specialized in the unique support fertility patients require. While couple distress during fertility treatment has been well studied, research is unclear if the phase of treatment has an impact on the rate of relationship satisfaction throughout the duration of treatment. This study examined the level of couple satisfaction at three key phases of fertility treatment starting from the least invasive to most invasive treatment. The researcher examined whether differences in relationship satisfaction for couples exist among couples engaging in each of these various phases of fertility treatment using the Couple Satisfaction Index [CSI] (Funk & Rogge, 2007). While the results indicated couples do not experience a great amount of change in satisfaction throughout the various phases of fertility treatment, the literature has been clear that the experience of treatment itself can be daunting. This study reinforces the need for quality, well-trained fertility counselors to remain accessible and engaged with the needs of this specific population.

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