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.
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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.