The International Council on Infertility Information Dissemination, Inc

Fertility Research Survey


Fertility research:  Acceptance and mindfulness among couples dealing with infertility.

[Note:Questions? Contact information is at the end of the article.] 
Anastasiia Kuliapina, provisional psychologist  and Dr Lisa Abel from the School of Psychology at Bond University, Australia, seek to understand your individual experiences related to infertility. We would like to learn from your experiences. Our goal with this research is to replace despair with hope and isolation with meaningful engagement in valued living and strong loving relationships. The research is conducted to contribute to the development of helpful fertility related psychological support programs.

Research has shown that infertility and its treatment include stressors that strain but also strengthen couples’ relationships (Lebow, 2014). Randall and Bodenmann (2009) showed that stress is correlated with a number of adverse relationship outcomes. For example, stress can impact communication (Bodenmann et al., 2008) and decrease marital relationship quality (Allen et al., 2010). Distressed couples typically lose their ability to discuss difficulties and are also more likely to report feelings of sadness, grief, and hopelessness (Leifker, 2015).  Behavior such as self-disclosure and support provision facilitate the development and maintenance of the relationship bond; these behaviours also facilitate mutual understanding, closeness, and affection (Leifker, 2015). According to Martins (2014), support from different sources (e.g. partner, family and friends, psychotherapy) can affect the way persons deal with the challenge of infertility.

Studies show that individuals experience psychological distress because they are unable to accept their infertility (Galhardo et al., 2011, Galhardo et al., 2013). The acceptance interventions offer a holistic approach to increase quality of life and foster important protective factors against realities of the uncertainty and losses. Active acceptance of adversity has been shown to increase a person’s sense of self-efficacy and psychological flexibility in difficult circumstances, as well as facilitate relationship satisfaction among couples facing chronic illness (Pakenham & Samios, 2012).

Mindfulness as a skill could be applied to painful internal and external experiences, bodily sensations, thoughts and feelings related to the past or to the future in a form of noticing without trying to suppress or modify them. Greater mindfulness is related to better adjustment and lower psychological distress. Mindfulness practice has also been shown to facilitate relationship satisfaction, due to its capacity to reduce emotional reactivity (Barnes et al., 2007; Wachs & Cordova, 2007). Given this, acceptance and mindfulness may be of benefit to couples facing the challenge of infertility (Galhardo, Cunha, & Pinto-Gouveia, 2013).

The aim of our research is to investigate the role of acceptance and mindfulness in relation to dyadic adjustment in couples facing fertility difficulties. The study has been approved by Bond University Human Research Ethics Committee (BUHREC) (Ethics Approval Code: RO 1951; please feel free to contact BUHREC if you have any questions or concerns regarding this research:

The research questionnaire takes approximately 45 minutes to complete and can be accessed online at your own pace and in a comfortable place here:

In recognition of the participation in this research, all participants are eligible to win a $100 gift card. The draw for this will take place at the completion of data collection.

Currently we have received positive feedback and gathered information from 45 participants living in Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, UK, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, Trinidad, and Jamaica. We hope to obtain 120 completed questionnaires, as this is the minimum number of responses that is necessary to answer our research question.

We invite both partners to complete the online survey here:


However, in instances where both partners cannot contribute, individual partner participation is also valuable and precious.

If you are able to share information about this research project, that would be much appreciated.


Anastasiia Kuliapina

Provisional Psychologist, MAPS, BPsych (Hons), MPsych (Clinical) Candidate

Bond University School of Psychology




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Bodenmann, G., Plancherel, B., Beach, S. R. H., Widmer, K., Gabriel, B., Meuwly, N., . . . Schramm, E. (2008). Effects of coping-oriented couples therapy on depression: A randomized clinical trial. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76, 944-954. doi: 10.1037/a0013467

Galhardo, A., Cunha, M., & Pinto-Gouveia, J. (2011). Psychological aspects in couples with infertility. Sexologies, 20, 224-228. doi: 10.1016/j.sexol.2011.08.005

Galhardo, A., Cunha, M., & Pinto-Gouveia, J. (2013). Mindfulness-based program for infertility: Efficacy study. Fertility and Sterility, 100, 1059-1067. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2013.05.036

Leifker, F. R., White, K. H., Blandon, A. Y., & Marshall, A. D. (2015). Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms impact the emotional experience of intimacy during couple discussions. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 29, 119-127. doi: 10.1016/j.janxdis.2014.11.

Martins, M. V., Costa, P., Peterson, B. D., Costa, M. E., & Schmidt, L. (2014). Marital stability and repartnering: Infertility-related stress trajectories of unsuccessful fertility treatment. Fertility and Sterility, 102, 1716-1722. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2014.09.007

Pakenham, K. I., & Samios, C. (2013). Couples coping with multiple sclerosis: A dyadic perspective on the roles of mindfulness and acceptance. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 36, 389-400. doi:10.1007/s10865-012-9434-0

Peterson, B. D., Pirritano, M., Block, J. M., & Schmidt, L. (2011). Marital benefit and coping strategies in men and women undergoing unsuccessful fertility treatments over a 5-year period. Fertility and Sterility, 95, 1759-1763.e1.doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2011.01.125

Randall, A. K., & Bodenmann, G. (2009). The role of stress on close relationships and marital satisfaction. Clinical Psychology Review, 29, 105-115. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2008.10.004

Wachs, K., & Cordova, J. V. (2007). Mindful relating: Exploring mindfulness and emotion repertoires in intimate relationships. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 33, 464-481. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-0606.2007.00032.x