Exploring “His and Hers”: Links between Infertility Diagnosis and Response

Katherine M. Johnson, Pennsylvania State University
Jasmine Fledderjohann, Pennsylvania State University

Over two decades ago, Greil and colleagues (1988) discussed the “his” and “hers” of infertility. In particular, women are often distressed whether or not they have a medical problem. In this paper, we use data from the National Study of Fertility Barriers to address the gendered relationship between medical diagnosis and response to infertility. We found that women were less likely to self-identify as infertile if the diagnosis was discrete male factor or ‘no problem’ compared to discrete female factor. Self-identification was related to greater distress, however, women reported greater distress if the diagnosis was discrete male factor compared to female factor. This suggests that the impact of infertility is not directly linked to diagnosis; rather, diagnosis has different relationships with different psychosocial outcomes. Additionally, we found evidence that these relationships may differ across time, affected by social, cultural, and technological changes that impact the diagnosis and treatment of infertility.

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Presented in Poster Session 4