A Qualitative Exploration of South African Women’s Psychological and Emotional Experiences of Infertility

DOI: 10.4236/ojpm.2014.45040   PDF   HTML     5,861 Downloads   7,070 Views   Citations


Despite the high prevalence of infertility in Africa, the study of reproductive health in Africa, has for the most part, not addressed the impact of involuntary childlessness on women. In contrast, the health priority has been on fertility regulation rather than on infertility. In Sub-Saharan Africa, at least 20% - 50% of couples of reproductive age experience a fertility problem and 30% are diagnosed with infertility. This study explored a sample of South Africa women’s psychological and emotional experiences of infertility or involuntary childlessness. Utilising a qualitative methodology, 21 married women who were diagnosed with infertility were recruited. Semi-structured, indepth individual interviews were conducted and the data were analysed using thematic analysis. The results of the study indicated that the women reported emotional turmoil characterised by emotions such as disappointment and shock, anger and frustration, a deep sense of sadness and then progressed to experience a sense of acknowledgement that a problem existed. Within each of these emotional phases the emotions of hope and optimism were present. The findings of this study suggest that severe psychological and emotional tug-of-war effects accompany infertility. Possible coping strategies for women struggling with infertility are discussed.

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Pedro, A. and Andipatin, M. (2014) A Qualitative Exploration of South African Women’s Psychological and Emotional Experiences of Infertility. Open Journal of Preventive Medicine, 4, 327-337. doi: 10.4236/ojpm.2014.45040.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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