Infertility pp 29-57 | Cite as

Psychological Reactions to Infertility

  • Christine Dunkel-Schetter
  • Marci Lobel
Part of the The Springer Series on Stress and Coping book series (SSSO)


Like many other life stresses, infertility is not a discrete event but an unfolding process. The beginning of the process is frequently marked by the passing of a year attempting to conceive without success, and by entry into medical treatment, although many couples begin to worry and seek treatment sooner. For some, a medical condition necessitates treatment such as the surgical removal of reproductive organs that suddenly impairs fertility. Thus, many events may signify the beginning of the infertility process, a process that often continues over a long period of time as individuals contend with the prospect of being unable to conceive. Indeed, in most cases, it is the possibility rather than the reality of infertility that is at issue, because there is some degree of ambiguity about the outcome. This situation initially involves a threat rather than a loss (Lazarus, 1966; Lazarus & Launier, 1978; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). As time passes without conception, the situation is gradually transformed into one of loss.


Marital Satisfaction Infertile Woman Infertility Treatment Infertile Couple Psychological Reaction 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christine Dunkel-Schetter
    • 1
  • Marci Lobel
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyState University of New YorkStony BrookUSA

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