Life 20 years after unsuccessful infertility treatment.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: This study explores the long-term experience of involuntary childlessness among 14 Swedish women 20 years after their infertility treatment. Methods: In-depth interviews were conducted. Results: The childlessness had had a strong impact on all the women’s lives and was for all a major life theme. The effects were experienced both on a personal level and on interpersonal and social levels. Half of the women were separated, and in all but one, sexual life was affected in negative and long-lasting ways. The effects of childlessness were especially increased at the time the study was conducted, as the women’s peer group was entering the ‘grandparent phase’. Many coped with their childlessness by caring for others, such as the children of friends or relatives, elderly parents or animals. Conclusion: These findings represent a small sample, but they point towards the need for developing models of counselling and support that stimulate self-reflection and strengthen personal resources and empowerment for individuals and couples experiencing involuntary childlessness.


  • Ingegerd Wirtberg
  • Anders Möller
  • Lars Hogström
  • Sven-Erik Tronstad
  • Ann Lalos
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychology


  • psychosocial impact, long-term effects, sexuality, quality of life, infertility
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)598-604
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch