• First-time mothers’ experiences of foetal reduction in pregnancy following assisted reproductive technology treatment in Taiwan: a qualitative study

      Huang, Mei-Zen; Sun, Yi-Chin; Gau, Meei-Ling; Puthussery, Shuby; Kao, Chien-Huei; ; National Taipei University of Nursing and Health Sciences; University of Bedfordshire (Biomed Central, 2021-11-02)
      Background Foetal reduction—removal of one or more foetuses to reduce the number of foetuses in multiple conceptions—is a procedure used for improving pregnancy outcomes following assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment. While there is a recognition of the importance of understanding the experiences of women who undergo foetal reduction to offer appropriate help and support, studies that provide relevant insights are sparse. Our aim was to gain an in-depth understanding about first-time mothers’ experiences of foetal reduction following ART treatment in Taiwan. Methods We adopted a qualitative design based on a phenomenological approach for this study. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven first-time mothers who underwent foetal reduction following ART treatment at a fertility centre in Taipei, Taiwan. All interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed using the Colaizzi strategy. Results The views and experiences relating to foetal reduction reflected five key themes: hesitation, ambivalence and distress; the guilt of knowingly terminating a life; rituals and ceremonies to ease the sense of guilt; persuading oneself to consider the ‘big picture’; and wishing for a reunion in next pregnancy. Mothers often regretted that they took clinical advice to implant multiple embryos and then having had to resort to foetal reduction. There was a sense of hesitation, ambivalence and distress reflected in the views from all participants. They believed that they ended the fetuses’ lives knowingly and expressed strong feelings of guilt. Mothers often tried to persuade themselves to look at foetal reduction within the ‘big picture’ of the overall pregnancy outcome. Losing their unborn babies was as an unforgettable incident for most mothers, and they wished for a reunion with the lost baby in the next pregnancy. Conclusion Findings indicate the need for ART providers to undertake a more sensitive approach that involves detailed discussions with women and their families to tailor the embryo transfer processes to suit individual needs. Women who undergo foetal reduction should be provided with tailored interventions towards enhancing their coping strategies before and after foetal reduction taking into account the cultural and religious context.