Focus on Infertility—Women’s Experiences of Using Social Media: A Qualitative Study
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Original versionSormunen, T., Karlgren, K., Fossum, B., Aanesen, A., & Westerbotn, M. (2021). Focus on infertility—women’s experiences of using social media: A qualitative study. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 09(05), 382-395. 10.4236/jss.2021.95020
Background: Social media have slotted firmly into the mechanics of daily life, affecting people’s everyday interactions, and working life. Access to the Internet has changed the way people search for information, manage health and illness, and how they relate to each other. Persons affected by infertility are likely to search the Internet to obtain infertility-related information and social support. However, evidence is needed regarding the way in which the target group uses the Internet in infertility-related issues. The aim of the study is to describe infertile women’s experiences of using social media focusing on infertility. Methods: This study is based on qualitative semi-structured telephone interviews with seven women. The interviews were conducted between May 2020 and November 2020 and were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Collected data were analyzed using thematic analysis. Results: Two themes were constructed from the data: Invaluable venue and Opportunity of choice. The women used social media focusing on infertility to support each other, to find infertility-related information and for fellowship and solidarity. Usage of social media forums was a part of everyday life and different forums were used, depending upon where the women were in the treatment process. Further, decisions about choice of group were based on which age groups were targeted and geographical location. Conclusion: Infertility is one of the most stressful events in life and is associated with a rollercoaster of emotions. The use of social media focusing on infertility was experienced as positive, providing valuable information, support, eliminating loneliness and being a breathing space. Different forums were used depending on where the women were in the treatment process.