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The Male Experience Of Infertility: A Thematic Analysis Of An Online Infertility Support Group Bulletin Board

S. Malik, N. Coulson
Published 2008 · Psychology

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Past research has suggested that men and women differ in their response to the experience of infertility. However, there is comparatively little research focusing specifically on the male perspective of infertility. The aim of this study was to examine communication within an online infertility support group bulletin board for men and to obtain a richer understanding of the experiences and needs of men affected by infertility. Inductive thematic analysis of 728 messages revealed 5 themes: ‘Supporting dearest partner is our key role’, ‘Is this a good or bad pain’, ‘Us blokes are mere spectators in most people's eyes’, ‘Sometimes a male perspective is needed’, and ‘I don't want to get my hopes up but I can't help it’. Our findings suggest that online support groups may provide a useful venue and context for men to open up about their fertility problems, without the inhibitions associated with face‐to‐face discussions. In contrast to past research, our findings reveal that the men participating in this online group were experiencing a range of negative emotions and difficulties as a result of infertility.
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