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Hum Reprod. 2008 Dec;23(12):2737-43. doi: 10.1093/humrep/den326. Epub 2008 Sep 4.

Infertile Japanese women's perception of positive and negative social interactions within their social networks.

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Faculty of Nursing, Shukutoku University, Chuo, Chiba, Japan.



The purpose of this study was to determine positive and negative social interactions experienced by infertile Japanese women.


Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 24 infertile women. The informants were asked about their experiences of positive (helpful) and negative (unhelpful) social interactions with members of their social networks, excluding their partners, with regard to their infertility.


Nine positive social interaction categories were clarified, including listening closely to the distress experienced in infertility and treatment, not prying or interfering with the topic of children and respecting the women's decision regarding fertility treatment and taking a wait-and-see attitude. Nine negative social interaction categories were also identified, including prying with the topic of children, showing a negative attitude toward infertility or reproductive medicine, being criticized for not having children and avoiding contact.


The present findings systematically and qualitatively determined the positive and negative social interactions experienced by infertile Japanese women within their social networks. This is essential knowledge for medical staff to counsel patients and their family members. To form a supportive social environment for infertile women, we recommend practical measures for health workers and helpful advice with regard to interactions between infertile women and their social networks.

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