Thank you for your interest in our study. The following survey is designed for those individuals who are CURRENTLY trying to conceive and facing difficulties. If you have faced infertility in the past but currently are not trying to have a baby, please do not continue taking this particular survey, but keep your eye out for future survey announcements. If you are CURRENTLY in the process of trying to conceive, please continue reading the following information.

Researchers at Pennsylvania State University, one of the leading research universities in the field of communication, need volunteers who are willing to share their infertility story.

You need to complete the online survey at one sitting, so please be sure you have 30-45 minutes to complete the survey before you begin it. Thank you!

If you choose to participate, you will take a confidential online survey from a computer of your choice detailing how you manage your infertility-related information with your family, friends, colleagues and other people in your social network. In addition, you will be asked questions about your marriage and infertility history. The survey will take approximately 30 minutes. In addition, you will have the opportunity to take a follow-up, online survey in approximately 3 months.

It would be especially helpful to our research to have both spouses fill out the survey. If you think your spouse might be interested, there will be an opportunity for you to pass this research information along to your spouse via email. Your spouse will then have the option to take the survey or decline to take the survey.

If you think you might be interested, please read this implied consent form to find out more details about the study. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact Keli Steuber by email ( or phone (609-405-7815).

Thank you for considering participating in our study. Your input will strengthen research on how couple's cope with infertility.

Title of Project:
Marital Couples’ Use of Social Networks during Infertility

Principal Investigator:
Keli Ryan Steuber
234 Sparks Building
University Park, PA 16802
(609) 405-7815;

Dr. Denise Solomon
317 Sparks Building
University Park, PA 16802
(814) 865-3461;

Other Investigator(s):
Dr. Rachel Smith

Please print the following information and keep it for your records.

* Purpose of the Study: The purpose of this research study is to explore how individuals communicate with their social network and spouse as they experience infertility.

Procedures to be followed: You will be asked to take an online survey at a computer of your choice. This survey should take you approximately 30 minutes, and you may be contacted again in 3 months to take a similar survey (also lasting approximately 30 minutes). In addition, if you think your spouse might also be interested in participating, we will provide the necessary information for him/her to take the study as well (his/her responses will be treated separate from yours, so you will each take the survey independently). Your spouse will not have access to your responses, and you will not have access to his/her responses. Your responses will be paired for analysis through a 10 character code that will be created for each of you based on demographic information. Although it is helpful for us to have both partners’ responses, your spouse does not need to participate in order for you to take part in this study.

Discomforts and Risks: There are no risks in participating in this research beyond those experienced in everyday life, although some of the questions are personal and might cause minor emotional discomfort. If you experience discomfort and want to stop participating, you may do so at any time.

Benefits: You might learn more about yourself by participating in this study. Answering these questions might help you have a better understanding of your social and marital relationships by encouraging you to think about characteristics of these relationships. By seeing the types of questions asked in the survey, you also might realize that others have had similar experiences as you.

Duration: It will take about 30 minutes to complete the survey today, and 30 minutes to complete a forthcoming survey (approximately 3 months from now).

Statement of Confidentiality: Your participation in this research is confidential. If both you and your spouse are participating in the study, please be sure to fill out the surveys individually from each other. Your spouse will not have access to your responses. The survey does not ask for any information that would identify who the responses belong to. Penn State’s Office for Research Protections, the Social Science Institutional Review Board and the Office for Human Research Protections in the Department of Health and Human Services may review records related to this research study. In the event of any publication or presentation resulting from the research, no personally identifiable information will be shared because your name is in no way linked to your responses. Please note that your confidentiality will be safe to the degree permitted by the technology used. Specifically, no guarantees can be made regarding the interception of data sent via the internet by any third parties. All of our databases have SSL level encryption, which is the same type of encryption used to protect your credit card information on online websites.

Right to Ask Questions: Please contact Keli Ryan Steuber at (609) 405-7815 with questions, complaints or concerns about this research. You can also call this number if you feel this study has harmed you in any way. Questions about your rights as a research participant may be directed to Penn State University’s Office for Research Protections at (814) 865-1775.

Voluntary Participation: Your decision to be in this research is voluntary. You can stop at any time. You do not have to answer any questions you do not want to answer. Refusal to take part in or withdrawing from this study will involve no penalty or loss of benefits you would receive otherwise. Completion of the survey implies that you have read the information in this form and consent to take part in the research.