The Importance of Online Community Support Groups in Infertility Populations
I was recently asked to write a clinical research update on the importance of online community support groups in infertility populations for the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors (OAND) Magazine. This review can be found below. Key takeaway messages:
Patients value online communities as they make care more accessible, provide reliable information and emotional support from peers.
A multitude of helpful aspects were mentioned throughout the studies, such as being a member of a tight community, feelings of belonging and being surrounded by persons with similar experiences.
Some women are unable to discuss infertility-related subjects with their spouse. Therefore, turning to infertility forums may be a way to process emotions and relations.
Patients have reported a preference for online peer support groups that are monitored by a health care professional.
A closer look should be taken at non-white and lower-income women as these women had stronger opinions on the benefits of online sources of information and support. To better accommodate these women, infertility-related websites should have information that would better serve these populations. This is especially important given that these women place more importance on these online resources.