Infertility; Childlessness; Sociocultural perception; Social definition; Perceived cause; Nigeria

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Iwelumor, O. S., Suraya, S. S. J., Babatunde, S. K., & Hayat, M. F. (2019). SOCIOCULTURAL PERCEPTIONS OF INFERTILITY. Asia Proceedings of Social Sciences, 4(2), 165-167.


Infertility is perceived differently across socio-cultural contexts and studies have shown these perceptions affect the overall management of infertility. This study specifically explored the sociocultural definition and perceived cause of infertility among married infertile persons experiencing primary infertility in Kwara South, Nigeria. The study adopted a qualitative exploratory design. Snowball sampling technique was used to recruit infertile persons for this study. Data was collected through in-depth interviews of 13 infertile married women and 7 infertile men. The data was analyzed using conventional content analysis with the aid of Atlas.ti 7. Findings showed that infertility is defined as barrenness and childlessness. It is perceived as an undesirable private marital problem and not a disease. Infertility is believed to be men and women problem. However, it is assumed to be primarily caused by women. Sociocultural factors rather than biomedical factors were exalted as primary causes of infertility. These include lifestyle choices or habits like worldliness (waywardness/promiscuity, alcoholism, substance abuse and diet); sociocultural beliefs centered on dirtiness, abortion, curses, spiritual oppression, witchcraft/sorcery, wrong mate selection, trial and punishment from God. Rape, menstrual disorder and low sperm count were also reported. Understanding these perceptions will enhance the development of culture-specific programs targeted at managing infertility in Nigeria.


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