A qualitative study of HIV serodiscordant patients accessing assisted reproductive treatment

Suellen A. Peak, Sarah J. Nowoweiski, Michelle L. Giles

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To explore the medical and psychosocial experiences of HIV serodiscordant patients attending an Assisted Reproductive Treatment (ART) programme. Design: Twenty couples in treatment from June 2008 to June 2009 were sent written invitations to participate in the study. Method: A semi-structured interview investigating the client's HIV history, family decision-making, engagement with and experiences of the programme was conducted. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and thematic content analysis was used. Results: Six couples expressed an interest to participate in the study, with a final sample of 10 participants comprising of 4 couples and 2 individuals. Participants demonstrated varying levels of understanding in relation to the medical implications of treatment including vertical and horizontal transmission risks and ART procedures. Infertility-related stresses were highlighted including the quality of the couple's interpersonal relationships, the emotional, physical and financial burden of treatment and the impact of fertility treatment on their work/life balance. Disclosure of HIV status and managing confidentiality were also significant challenges for participants of this programme. Conclusion: Participants' experiences of the programme have been positive, though varied. They expressed high expectations of the programme, particularly regarding the likelihood of a pregnancy. HIV was not seen by the clients to be a clinical indicator for infertility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-422
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • assisted reproduction
  • HIV
  • IVF
  • pregnancy
  • serodiscordant

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