How Individuals Use Metaphors to Negotiate Fertility Treatment Decision-Making with Their Romantic Partners

Angela L. Palmer-Wackerly, Heather L. Voorhees, Jody Koenig Kellas, Jaclyn S. Marsh, Jonathan T. Baker, Brooklyn C. Housh, Robert D. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Fertility problems, or the inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term for a period of over 12 months while engaging in unprotected sex, affects 12% of women and 9% of men of childbearing age. To answer calls for more research about individuals’ fertility decision-making (DM) with their partners, we conducted in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 53 individuals who have experienced fertility decision-making with a romantic partner at some point in their lives. Our findings indicate at least three primary ways individuals and their partners navigated their decision-making communication in their infertility “journeys:” (1) the Driver-Navigator, (2) Driver-Passenger, and (3) Driver-Backseat Driver approaches. All decision-making communication approaches were viewed by individuals as collaborative (i.e. shared), but varied in degrees of “togetherness” (high, moderate, low) in how they communicated with each other about treatment decisions. Implications include helping couples and their clinicians to be aware of their DM approach(es) and offering alternative DM approaches based on understanding how and why certain approaches may (not) be effective in addressing goals, needs, and identities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHealth Communication
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication

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