Qualitative Sociology

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 275–291 | Cite as

Women’s Experiences with Infertility: The Fluidity of Conceptualizations of ‘Family’

  • Diana C. Parry


In this study, I examine women’s experiences with infertility and the impact upon their conceptualizations of ‘family.’ Active interviews with 32 women revealed most women started out with conceptualizations that reflected a traditional ideology of family. Participants who conceived biological children through medical assistance expressed a broader conceptualization of family through a greater appreciation for their children and family life in general. Women who did not conceive, despite medical assistance to do so, also discussed broadening their conceptualizations so that ‘family’ took on new meanings, structures, and/or significance. Conceptually, the analysis shows how notions of family are not static, but rather a fluid process subject to interpretation and re-evaluation as a result of life events, in this case, encounters with infertility.


conceptualizations of family infertility women’s experiences 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Recreation and Leisure StudiesCentre for Program Evaluation and Behavioural Research, University of WaterlooCanada

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