Published: 2021-12-27

Two sides of a coin: women’s experiences and providers’ perceptions of assisted conception in urban India

Vaishalee Saravanan, Geetha Desai, Veena A. Satyanarayana


Background: The uptake of assisted reproductive treatments has increased radically in urban India. We aimed to understand women’s lived experiences of assisted conception, and ART providers’ perception of their patients’ experiences.

Methods: This study was cross-sectional and we used a qualitative approach and key informant interviews to understand the experiences of women and the treatment providers. Participants were ten women who had conceived through assisted reproductive treatment and ten ART providers. The data was analyzed using Braun and Clarke’s thematic analysis method.

Results: During the treatment process, women felt consumed by their need to conceive. They reported that it was difficult for them to focus on other equally important aspects of their life. Stress, depression and anxiety associated with the uncertainty of their treatment outcome were prevalent. Women were also worried about miscarriage, safety and health of their baby, and forming an attachment with their fetus during the pregnancy. Providers’ concurred that women experience significant mood fluctuations in the form of stress, anxiety and depression which impacts treatment adherence and outcome. Women who have adequate spousal and family support are able to navigate the ART process better than women who lack social support.

Conclusions: Findings imply the need for screening and brief psychological interventions at different stages of fertility treatment and during the antenatal and postnatal period to enhance women’s emotional well-being.



Psychological distress, Assisted reproductive treatment, Women, Providers, India

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