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UBC Theses and Dissertations

How two couples adopt to biological childlessness and reconstruct their lives once fertility is no longer a viable option Bockus, Diana


The present longitudinal study explores how two Caucasian, heterosexual couples experiencing 'unexplained infertility' adapted to biological childlessness after fertility treatment was no longer a viable option. Previous literature on infertile couples' process of adaptation post treatment focused on those who succeeded in having a genetic child. In this study each couple pursued an alternative life path to biological parenthood by either becoming adoptive parents or by choosing nonparenthood. Their respective journeys were documented in a succession of four unstructured, ih-depth audio taped interviews at 10-month intervals over a period of 3.5-years. The findings show that both couples, although they pursued variant life paths, evolved from a negative perception and experience of life without biological children to having a positively lived life as a biologically childless couples. The adaptation process involved a complex and intense interconnected series of events and experiences associated with three phases. Letting Go of the Biological Parenthood Quest, Recovery and Discovering Life Options, and Making and Living a New Life Path. The following aspects were linked to these adaptation phases and enabled couples to construct a new life without biological parenthood: grieving their losses associated with infertility and their genetic child; acceptance of biological childlessness; personal growth experiences; seeking and achieving balance personally and in their daily life as a couple; and envisioning, establishing and living their new life path.

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