Sociology, Department of


First Advisor

Julia McQuillan

Date of this Version



Andersen, Jennifer A. 2017. “Not Infertile, Can’t Have Children: Non-reproductive Health Barriers to a Wanted Child.” MA Thesis, Department of Sociology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Sociology, Under the Supervision of Professor Julia McQuillan, Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2017

Copyright (c) 2017 Jennifer A. Andersen


Non-reproductive health barriers to a wanted baby are an understudied population in the field of infertility research. This is a concern for fertility, public health, and family scholars as the lack of information can have affects the attitudes, knowledge, and behaviors of couples with non-reproductive health barriers. Using the National Survey of Fertility Barriers (NSFB) and Survey Driven Narrative Construction, I was able to identify thirty-two women and their partners who have confronted a non-reproductive health barrier. These women did not self-identify and were grouped as such by the author. I found that the majority of the couples do not identify as infertile and do not group themselves as such. Additionally, I identified evidence of biographical disruption including the tension between having and raising children, reassessment of one’s biography and identity, and coping with the disruption of illness and the related inability to have a wanted child.

Advisor: Julia McQuillan