African American Women's Experiences and Understanding of Secondary Infertility

Claudelle Anisha Clarke, Walden University


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe the lived experiences of African American women with secondary infertility, defined as an inability to conceive or carry a baby to term after a previous conception. Research on secondary infertility has ignored the prevalence of the condition in African American women. The implications of secondary infertility in African American women have immediate and far-reaching health and psychosocial consequences. African American women rely on interconnectedness and social networks; therefore, social networks and social support served as the key concepts underwriting the study's conceptual framework. Social networks and social support underscore the connection between those needing and those rendering support during stressful life events. The study consisted of 10 African American women ages 18-75 years old, who met the inclusion criteria for the study. Participants completed screening questions, a brief demographic questionnaire, and an interview. Their experiences were captured through first person accounts during one-to-one semi-structured interviews developed through pilot testing. Qualitative analysis yielded four themes: (a) defining family and adjusting to the change in definition of a family; (b) experiences with secondary infertility; (c) psychosocial stressors and supports from friends and family; and (d) treatment and intervention. This research promotes social change by informing clinical practice through access to culturally competent resources, increased responsiveness and policy development promoting timely access to care.