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Hum Reprod. 2010 Mar;25(3):714-20. doi: 10.1093/humrep/dep445. Epub 2009 Dec 19.

The experience of spontaneous pregnancy loss for infertile women who have conceived through assisted reproduction technology.

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Department of Interdisciplinary Programs, King's University College, 266 Epworth Avenue, London, ON, Canada.



The purpose of this qualitative, phenomenological study was to explore the subjective experiences of infertile women who conceived through the use of assisted reproduction technology--ovarian stimulation, intrauterine insemination or IVF--only to lose their pregnancy at 2-16 weeks gestation.


Ten women participated in in-depth, tape-recorded interviews. After initial content analysis, a phenomenological analysis was undertaken to identify common themes in the participants' stories.


Nine common themes were identified. These included: a sense of profound loss and grief; diminished control; a sense of shared loss with their partners; injustice or lack of fairness; ongoing reminders of the loss; social awkwardness; fear of re-investing in the treatment process or a subsequent pregnancy; the need to make sense of their experience; and feelings of personal responsibility for what had happened.


Participants' experiences of pregnancy loss were embedded within their experiences of infertility and medical treatment, and shaped by their significant investment in having a child. A significant feature was their marked ambivalence regarding future reproductive options after their pregnancy loss, reflecting a unique overlay of prominent anxiety in their grief experience.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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