Yu-Chieh Liu


Approximately 10-15% of married couples in Taiwan encounter the challenge of infertility, which significantly impacts their lives and relationships. However, the nature and extent of this impact vary across different social and cultural contexts. Recognising the complex and wide-ranging nature of infertility issues, integrated interventions have emerged as a novel approach to assist infertile couples effectively. Drawing upon Helms et al.'s (2011) modified three-level model of marriage, Huston's model, and Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems theory (1986), a comprehensive framework is constructed within this thesis to explore various aspects of infertile couples' experiences in Taiwan as they are undergoing assisted reproductive technology (ART). This framework encompasses the couples' interpersonal relationships, their interactions with the medical system, and the influence of their family of origin and cultural systems. The study employs mixed methods, combining quantitative and qualitative approaches, to address the following research questions:1. What is the societal and cultural context in which Taiwanese infertile couples have undergone assisted reproductive technology? 2. What does the medical system in Taiwan provide infertile couples with in terms of resources and assistance, how the infertile couples feel about the medical system, and how does the treatment process affect marital life and relationships? 3. Under the Taiwanese cultural context, how aware are the couples of other perspectives (original family system, interpersonal system) to infertility, and how do these perspectives influence them? 4. How do infertile couples cope with and face infertility within the Taiwanese cultural context? Firstly, the findings reveal that Taiwanese infertile couples undergoing ART live within the societal context of traditional negative perceptions and modern rich information interactions. Secondly, the medical system focuses on providing physical assistance and professional equipment to infertile couples. However, the treatment process comes with great physical, psychological and spiritual difficulties that are not addressed. The Taiwanese infertile couples believe in medical professionals but are eager for more humanisation and supportive medical assistance. Thirdly, traditional cultural values pervade in general social contexts and emerge in family gatherings. The rising external pressure tests Taiwanese infertile couples' relationships and coping techniques. Lastly, infertile couples in Taiwan tend to be perfunctory and evasive in maintaining interpersonal safety and harmony and use contextual strategies to protect their partners. In summary, this study provides a systemic framework for investigating the contextual experiences of infertile couples across diverse cultural contexts. It offers valuable insights into the specific needs of Taiwanese infertile couples, enabling medical and mental health practitioners to design appropriate integrated psychosocial support programs.

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