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Objective: University is a time for self-discovery, developmentof independence and transition to adulthood. It is not well examined whetherchildless university students also consider the potential of future personalinfertility. The objective of this study was to document expectations andperceptions related to personal infertility in a sample of young adults. Methods:Using a qualitative approach, interviews were conducted with 39 male and femaleuniversity students in Ottawa, Canada. Interview topics included contemplationof personal infertility, anticipated gendered experience of infertility andcultural perceptions of infertility. Results: The possibility of futureinfertility was not contemplated by most participants 74%. Although studentsgenerally expected infertility to be an emotional experience, women especiallyanticipated that infertility would be associated with negative gender identityand reduced self-esteem. Ethnic-minority participants from pro-natalist countriesperceived infertility to be stigmatized by their communities, particularlyagainst women. Conclusions: This sample of childless young adults anticipatedmany gendered and cultural dimensions of the experience of infertility,suggesting that these perceptions are shaped well in advance of contemplationof family planning.


Infertility; University Students; Culture; Gender

Cite this paper

Whitten, A. , Remes, O. , Sabarre, K. , Khan, Z. and Phillips, K. 2013 Canadian university students’ perceptions of future personal infertility. Open Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 3, 561-568. doi: 10.4236-ojog.2013.37101.

Autor: Amanda N. Whitten, Olivia Remes, Kelley-Anne Sabarre, Zainab Khan, Karen P. Phillips



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