'I am always crying on the inside': a qualitative study on the implications of infertility on women's lives in urban Gambia

Dublin Core

Title

'I am always crying on the inside': a qualitative study on the implications of infertility on women's lives in urban Gambia

Author

Dierickx, Susan
Rahbari, Ladan
Longman, Chia
Jaiteh, Fatou
Coene, Gily

Language

English

Publication Date

20180912

Abstract

Background: There is an increasing awareness that infertility in Sub-Saharan Africa constitutes a severe social and public health problem. Few of the existing studies on infertility explicitly take into account the differences between women. However, how women experience infertility is formed by their various social positions. This research explores the implications of infertility on women's lives in urban Gambia and aims to provide an in-depth understanding of how this relates to gender and cultural norms as well as different social positions.
Methods: Qualitative data were collected through interviews (33), group discussions (13), participatory observations (14) and informal conversations (31). Purposive and snowball sampling techniques were used to identify participants. The data was analysed thematically using NVivo 11. Results: Results showed that there was strong social pressure on urban women in The Gambia to procreate. Unable to conform to their gender role, women with infertility were confronted with financial problems, social stigma, as well as emotional and physical violence in their marriage. All women expressed feelings of trauma, stress and sadness. The intersectional approach used in this study highlighted how different positions influenced women's experiences of infertility. Urban women with a high socio-economic status had a more powerful position within their marriages and the broader community, due to their financial position, professional career and, sometimes, their educational background. In contrast, women from a lower socio-economic background were more likely to be harshly confronted with the social stigma of infertility. Conclusion: The lives of most women with infertility in The Gambia are characterized by social suffering resulting from gender and pro-natal norms, cultural beliefs and moral concerns, cultural practices and limited access to health care. An intersectional approach is an effective tool to inform public health and social policy since it highlights how, in specific situations, certain groups are more vulnerable than others.

Primary Classification

14.1

Secondary Classification

14.1; 7.1

Primary keywords

infertility [pri]; stigmatization [pri]

Secondary keywords

culture; health care delivery; marital relationship; Muslims; psychological stress; qualitative research

Subject

The Gambia [pri]

Subject

pronatalism; social suffering

Journal Article

Reproductive Health 2018 September 12; 15(1): 151: 11 p.

Note

© The Author(s). 2018. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Primary Document Type

j

Subject Captions

e

Bibliography

62 refs.

ISSN

17424755 (online)

Collection

Citation

“'I am always crying on the inside': a qualitative study on the implications of infertility on women's lives in urban Gambia,” Islamic Medical & Scientific Ethics, accessed January 25, 2020, http://imse.ibp.georgetown.domains/items/show/38077.