Reproductive Health (Apr 2021)

'Does HPV affect my fertility?' Reproductive concerns of HPV-positive women: a qualitative study

  • Kowsar Qaderi,
  • Seyedeh Tahereh Mirmolaei,
  • Mehrnaz Geranmayeh,
  • Farnaz Farnam,
  • Shahrzad Sheikh Hasani

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 18, no. 1
pp. 1 – 11


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Abstract Background Reproductive health changes can occur following infection with Human papillomavirus. HPV is the most prevalent sexually transmitted infection causing a variety of clinical manifestations ranging from warts to cancer. This study aimed to explore the reproductive concerns of women infected with HPV. Methods In this qualitative study, we used the conventional content analysis approach, with the aid of MAXQDA.10 software, to analyze data extracted from the face-to-face semi-structured interviews with 20 Iranian HPV-positive women (sampled by maximum variation purposive sampling). The accuracy of this research was ensured according to the four criteria proposed by Guba and Lincoln. Results Exploring participants' reproductive concerns, three main categories were identified from the interviews including concerns about fertility potential, pregnancy and non-pregnancy reproductive issues. HPV-positive women concerned about reduced female/ male fertility due to HPV, the impact of the HPV on the fetal health, adverse pregnancy outcomes such as miscarriage and preterm delivery, and mother-to-child transmission of HPV during breastfeeding. HPV-positive women with abnormal cytology results were anxious that becoming pregnant or taking hormonal contraception might worsen their abnormalities. Most married women were reluctant to use a condom. Participants requested further information about the potential reproductive risks of the HPV vaccine. They also wanted to know about the safety of HPV vaccine during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Conclusions HPV-positive women had some reproductive concerns that should be considered in the designing of educational-consulting interventions. Women need to be better understood and informed about the impact of HPV on their reproductive health. Health care providers may lack knowledge about these specific areas, and they could benefit from additional up-to-date information to address women's reproductive concerns.