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Pines, D. (1990). Emotional Aspects of Infertility and its Remedies. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 71:561-568.

(1990). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 71:561-568

Emotional Aspects of Infertility and its Remedies

Dinora Pines

In the course of my professional life, first as a physician working in a London hospital where women patients only were treated, and later as a psychoanalyst treating both men and women, my infertile patients made me aware of the deep emotional suffering that they experience. In the past childless couples had two choices, either gradual conscious acceptance of their childless state, although in my clinical experience such an acceptance is never final, or alternatively adoption of someone else's child. Readily available abortion drastically reduced the numbers of such children, and it was with great relief that patients turned to use the enormous strides in the treatment of infertility that gradually became available to them over the last ten years. These methods have brought both hope and disappointment to many couples since the success rate is comparatively low.

However successful these procedures may be, the couple that has resorted to artificial reproduction, has had to come to terms with their failure as a couple to conceive and create life as their parents did. They must also mourn the loss of their lifelong wish and expectation that normal heterosexual activity in physically mature human beings would lead to conception and the birth of a baby as it had done in the generation before them. Since infertility is a failure that the couple cannot deny, shame and guilt are inevitably part of their emotional predicament, shame that they cannot conceive as so many of their

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