The Effect of Infertility on Female Sexuality
Publication Date:October 1987
Infertility affects one in six couples in America. Only half, or five million of them will be helped by medical means. For the others, the problem is long term. Women who are infertile may not only grieve the childless state, but must also incorporate the inability to have a child into their sexual identity. The emotional turmoil of infertility can have far reaching effects. The woman's self identity is called into question, as are her role expectations. The quest to become pregnant overshadows daily living, which can affect the couples relationship. Professionals who work with infertile women need to be aware of these aspects of the problem as well as provide support to their clients.
Albino, J. & Tedesco, L. (1983). Women's health issues. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 5(1-4), 157-72.
Berezin, N. (1982). After a loss in pregnancy. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Cohn, S. (1982). Sexuality in pregnancy: A review of the literature. Nursing Clinics of North America, 27(1), 91-8.
Friedman, R. & Gradstein, B. (1982). Surviving pregnancy loss. Boston: Little, Brown and Co.
Goodlin, R.C., Keller, D.W., & Raffin, M. (1971). Orgasm during late pregnancy. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 38, 916.
Goodlin, R.C., Schmidt, W., & Creevy, D.C. (1972). Uterine tension and fetal heart rate during maternal orgasm. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 39, 125.
Grudzinkas, J.C., Watson, C, & Chard, T. (1979). Does sexual intercourse cause fetal distress? Lancet, 2, 692.
Helmrath, T. & Steinitz, E. (1979). Death of an infant: Parental grieving and the failure of social support. Journal of Family Practice, 6(4), 785-90.
Menning, B. (1982). The psychosocial impact of infertility. Nursing Clinics of North America, 27(1), 155-63.
Penticuff, J. (1982). Psychological implication in high-risk pregnancy. Nursing Clinics of North America, 17(1), 69-78.
Quirk, T. (1979). Crisis theory, grief theory and related psychological factors: The framework for intervention. Journal of Nurse Midwifery, 24(5), 13-6.
Savage, J. (1981). Effect of crises on female sexual identity. Issues in Health Care of Women, 3, 151-60.
Scott, W. & Morgan, C. (1983). An analysis of factors affecting traditional family expectations and perceptions of ideal fertility. Sex Roles, 9(8), 901-14.
Karen Reed, M.N.
Karen Reed, M.N. is a lecturer, School of Nursing, University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Address requests for reprints to the author, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, School of Nursing, Greensboro, NC 27412.