Exploration of the counseling needs of infertile couples:A qualitative study

Fatemeh Jafarzadeh Kenarsari, Ataollah Ghahiri, Ali Zargham‑Boroujeni, Mojtaba Habibi



Background: Identification of the main needs of infertile patients is essential to provision of appropriate supportive services and care based on their needs. Thus, the present study aims to explore infertile couples’ counseling needs.

Materials and Methods: This study was carried out with an inductive qualitative content analysis approach during 2012–2013. The participants of this study included 26 Iranian infertile couples and 7 medical personnel (3 gynecologists and 4 midwives). The infertile couples were selected through purposive sampling and considering maximal variation from patients attending state‑run and private infertility treatment centers as well as infertility specialists, offices in Isfahan and Rasht, Iran. Unstructured in‑depth interviews and field notes were utilized for data gathering and replying to this research main question, “What are the counseling needs of infertile couples?” The data from medical personnel was collected through semi‑structured interviews. Data analysis was carried out through conventional content analysis.

Results: Data analysis revealed two main themes. The first theme was “a need for psychological counseling,” which included four subthemes: Emotional distress management, sexual counseling, marital counseling, and family counseling. The second theme was “a need for guidance and information throughout treatment process,” which included three subthemes: Treatment counseling, financial counseling, and legal counseling.

Conclusions: The counseling needs of infertile couples are varied, and they require various psychosocial support and counseling interventions. The participants of this study identified clearly the significance of psychological counseling and information throughout the long and onerous journey of infertility and its treatment.

Key words: Counseling, infertility, Iran, needs, qualitative research

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