All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Gwendolyn Childs

Advisory Committee Members

William Somerall

Teneasha Washington

Ashley Hodges

Deborah Ejem

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2023

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Nursing

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Failure to achieve pregnancy (infertility) affects over 6 million women ages 15–44 in the United States. African American women have more difficulty getting pregnant than White women but are less likely to seek help for infertility. According to the current research, there are several factors (cost, insurance coverage, etc.) that create difficulty for women to seek help to get pregnant. However, little is known about the factors that influence or impede infertility help-seeking among African American women. The purpose of this study was to explore the barriers and facilitators to infertility help-seeking among African American women.METHODS: Factors affecting infertility help-seeking among African women were explored using a qualitative descriptive design. Descriptive statistics were obtained using sample characteristics and an adapted version of the Cardiff Fertility Knowledge Scale which examined participants’ knowledge related to female fertility. Qualitative data were obtained through in-depth, semi-structured interviews with each participant (n=12). Interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using thematic analysis and NVivo 12. RESULTS: The themes that emerged from the interviews were: barriers, facilitators, and recommendations for infertility help-seeking. The most common barriers reported were knowledge and awareness, challenging experiences with fertility specialists, perception of treatments, religious beliefs, and infertility stigma. Facilitators to infertility help-seeking included the significance of a strong support system and cultivating resilience in the face of infertility challenges. Recommendations to improve infertility help-seeking were to increase African American women’s awareness and understanding of infertility and its treatments, improve infertility care to ensure consistent provision of care and resources across all fertility clinics, and a desire for greater openness among African American women in sharing their infertility experiences and seeking assistance. CONCLUSION: This study identified various factors influencing the decision of African American women to pursue infertility treatment. The study findings offer valuable insights that can inform clinical practice, guide future research, and shape policy initiatives.

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