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nfertility is seen as a couple’s problem. A man or a woman maybe able to concevive with another partner. In studies by Stanton ; Dunkel- Schetter, 1991 and Dunkel- Schetter and Lobel 1991 have found that infertility creates levels of distress, adjustment related issues , depression, anxiety and reduced self-esteem among women. Men and women both assume that transition to parenthood is an important part of adulthood and hence a lack of the same is seen as a life crisis. Stanton ; Dunkel- Schetter, 1991.
Fecundity or being to produce children has a positive social value and is highly valued and socially desirable for religious and family reasons. Children ensure the continuation of the family lineage. In India, childless women are often victims of societal wrath through isolation , impact on a woman’s identity, stigma and threat to a woman’s gender identity. They are isolated from auspicious functions in societies and with set limitations in functions like naming ceremonies or those associated with child birth.
There have a few studies specific to infertility related distress in men. Beaurepaire et al 1994, has reported one study and its findings were that men feel more in control of the situation than women and they were able to follow their own thresholds of emotionality, had lesser self blaming behaviour and felt lesser guilt than women. The engagement strategies used by men were to keep a distance from the problem causing events or scenarios, not letting the diagnosis take control over their lives, and information seeking about what can be done to overcome this and being able to identify solutions to the condition at hand. Another strategy adapted by both men and women were to seek social support, from friends, families or community based support groups. Hence they were able to cope much better with infertility stress.
Inability to have a biological child raises a huge question on a the gender identity of a man or a woman leading to behavioral changes and changes in emotionality thresholds.
Women have been able to get social and psychological support when compared to men. This has been seen in many research study findings.
Men is general were questioned and were forced to dismiss about their sexual techniques, relationship with their partners and such forms of intimate spheres of their lives. In the presence of such discussions, they had shown a tendency to move away from seeking further support from their friends and in some occasions, colleagues also. Feelings of being humiliated and being lower to others were predominant. Infertile men have often said that they felt the need to be strong for their partners.
Lavania, 2006 in her study among couples with fertility in India has identified that childless is a syndrome of multiple origins and is the result from a condition which prohibits natural conception. It is not a disease in itself. The couple get confirmed to a cultural expectation to produce children and a failure to do this leads to psychosomatic disorders and general dysfunction. Loss of relationship, good health, status in society, self-esteem, self-confidence, security, fantasy and loss of something or someone of great symbolic value were seen commonly among couples. Impact on marital relationships, sexual identity , self-esteem and communication pattern changes were seen among such couples. Shapiro,1982.
Social questions like, “How’s” and “Why’s”`are often difficult for such couples to answer. Inability to have a child was seen a failure to perform a role function associated with a gender, resulting in couple stigmatization. Women are often at risk of familial displacement in such situations. Rosenfeld (1984) and Miall (1986).
Marital life has often been affected among such couples, Sharma (1999) found that rates of divorce were higher among such couples than with others. Van Keep and Smith (1975) found that such couples also prefer to be in the presence of others with children than being totally isolated.
Peng (2012) , conducted a systematic review of online literature using multiple databases (Medline, PsycInfo and Scopus) to identify and assimilate all relevant literature published from 1990 to 2011. their findings were :
1.Impact on marriage was associated with female infertility than male,
2.Infertile males were more satisfied in their marriages than infertile female partners
3.Infertile women felt more insecure in marriages than males in the same situation
4.Treatment experiences varies between men and women
5.Socio-demographic profile of the individual is an important factor
6.Quality of marital life is directly related to age of the couple, sexual gratification, education levels and their perception of the infertility problem.
7.Feelings from mutual support among the couple has better impact on their treatment outcomes, Laffont, 1994
8.The impact of a diagnosis was more eventful for women than men
9.Bovin, 1998, identified that infertile men were more hopeful of favourable treatment outcome.
10.Research and treatment should be carried out on the couple seeking treatment than on individuals. Seeing infertility to have an impact on the dyadic relationships.
11.The studies were most often focused on the medical aspects than psycho-social domains.
12.Papers reviewed were in English, hence relevant papers in other languages would have been missed.
13.The findings were from a clinical population, hence the complete understanding and the complexity of the condition may not be understood . multiple perspectives could not be identified.

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