In general, pregnancies are unique and wonderful experiences. However, for some women,
getting pregnant is a medical and psychological struggle. For others, being pregnant is not a happy experience at all. When couples do not get pregnant after one year of regular sexual intercourse, they are identified as infertile. They can decide to go to a fertility clinic to get pregnant with assisted reproductive technologies. When women are confronted with an unwanted pregnancy, they may decide to terminate the pregnancy. In both unexpected
situations, women are distressed and feel responsible for making a decision about the future family situation. Previous research has shown the importance of social support in these situations. This means that women take advantage of the fact that surrounding others (e.g. their partners) help them to cope with the decision. However, in this project, we hypothesize that women do not only want to receive support, they also want to make the decision together with someone. They want the decision to be shared. We plan three studies in two clinical samples, in which we want to get an answer to the following questions. Which couples are not making the reproductive decision together? Is there an effect of treating the decision as a shared one on the wellbeing of these couples? Does the search for social support change as the decision process proceeds? And how can counselors play a role in creating shared decisions?