Infertility after cancer: How the need to be a parent, fertility-related social concern, and acceptance of illness influence quality of life

Pandora Patterson, Janette Perz, Richard Tindle, Fiona McDonald, Jane Usher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Adolescents and young adults (AYAs) given a diagnosis of cancer who experience infertility concerns often report having poorer quality of life (QoL). However, the role of infertility-related stressors and illness acceptance on QoL is not clear.Objective The aim of this study was to describe the impact of psychosocial factors surrounding cancer treatment and infertility on QoL. We hypothesized that need for parenthood and infertility-related social concerns would be directly related to QoL and indirectly related to QoL through acceptance of illness. Methods Cancer patients/survivors (n = 178; 75.3% female) aged 15 to 29 years completed measures of QoL, acceptance of illness, infertility-related social concerns, and need for parenthood. Path analysis was used to test the hypothesized and subsequent models to determine the best fit for predictors of QoL. Results The final model explained 28.36% of the variance in QoL. Lower infertility-related social concerns were directly and indirectly related to higher QoL scores. Need for parenthood did not directly relate to QoL, instead relating directly to increased infertility-related social concerns. Higher acceptance of illness (β = .39) and older age (β = .19) were directly related to higher QoL scores. Female patients had higher need for parenthood (β = .17). Conclusions These findings suggest that social concerns and expectations surrounding infertility have a negative impact on AYA cancer survivors' and patients' QoL, which increases as AYAs approach socially normative parenting age. Implications for Practice Providing survivors with specialist support to manage their infertility-related social concerns and improve their acceptance of illness has the potential to improve their QoL.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Nursing
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2020

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