Fourteen women is not a very large sample -- and if the study was carried out in the early part of this decade, the women would have gone through treatment in the early 1980s -- when there were far fewer options & lower success rates than there are today. I wonder what sort of results a similar study would find, 20 years from now?
Nevertheless, there were some interesting findings (some heartening, some depressing). Eleven of the 14 said they had eventually accepted their childlessness and adapted their lives accordingly. Most said they had found meaning in life by caring for others -- nieces & nephews, friends' children, pets, aging parents. Work, education, travel and hobbies were other activities they engaged in to "make the best of things."
Three of the women, however, said they had never come to terms with their childlessness. Many of the 14 said the feelings of social isolation that they felt while going through treatment had persisted over the years, and were in fact resurfacing in a new way as their friends and relatives became grandparents (!). Many said their sex life had suffered as a result of their infertility, and half had separated from their spouses (in all these cases, the men had left their wives).
I was particularly struck by this observation:
For the transition and adaptation to parenthood, every society has many rituals provided by kin, clan, state and even commercial interests. But there are no rituals to help with the transition and adaptation to none-parenthood. On the contrary, many women in this study described how private and silent their story was. The role-identity of not being able to become a parent, being a ‘none-parent’, is a state made possible only through the crushing of anticipations and dreams.