Date of Conferral





Public Health


Shanna L. Barnett


There is a gap in infertility research regarding resource availability within rural communities, yet existing research declares infertility a public health concern. This qualitative study was grounded in the Heggerian phenomenological framework by way of assessing participants' perceptions of and experiences with infertility resources in a rural community. The purpose was to analyze the meaning of those experiences within their world. To accomplish this, Antonovsky's salutogenic theory was applied to investigate the strengths and weaknesses of infertility resources including the availability of resources, participant understanding of, and participants' experiences. Purposive sampling was used and in-depth interviews were conducted with 12 women, ages 24 to 39, who reside within rural communities. Interviews consisted of 60 questions that were designed to examine 13 research questions. Data were analyzed following Ritchie and Spencer's framework, requiring documentation and data classification, through 3 phases: open coding, focused coding, and axial coding. Emerging themes included a need for more resources on infertility, assistance with locating infertility resources, and an association between insurance coverage and use of infertility treatments. Findings from this study indicated a need for additional resources and knowledge regarding infertility in rural areas, also confirming a need for additional research on the topic. Social change implications for this research include developing resources for consumers and health care providers as well as improved provider knowledge. With increased knowledge and resources, these individuals may be able to achieve their goals and cope with the challenges of understanding and dealing with infertility.