Coping Strategies of Women Seeking Infertility Treatment in Southern Ghana

Ernestina S Donkor, Jane Sandall


Infertility is a health problem faced by an estimated 15% of women of childbearing age in Ghana. This study explores the coping strategies adopted by 615 women seeking infertility treatment in southern Ghana. Both closed and open-ended questions were used through a survey conducted using face-to-face interviews in three languages at three health sites – a hospital, a health centre and a private clinic. The findings suggest that the majority of the women preferred to keep issues of their fertility problems to themselves. The reason could be due to the associated stigma of infertility. Further, the majority of the women coped through drawing on their Christian faith. Others also coped through the support they received from their husbands, their occupation by way of achieving economic independence, and some avoided situations that reminded them of their infertility problem. The findings should have implications for health personnel as some strategies infertile women use may do more harm than good (Afr J Reprod Health 2009; 13[4]:81-93).




Stratégies d’adaptation au problème de la stérilité chez les femmes qui recherchent un traitement au sud du Ghana. La stérilité est un problème auquel font face environ 15% des femmes en âge d’avoir des enfants au Ghana. Cette étude explore les stratégies adoptées par 615 femmes qui recherchent un traitement de la stérilité au sud du Ghana pour faire face au problème.  On s’est servi des questions de nature limitées et illimitées à travers une enquête menée à l’aide des interviews face à face en trois langues dans trois établissements de santé :  un hôpital, un centre médicosocial et une clinique privée, les résultats ont montré que la plupart des femmes préfèrent garder tout ce qui concerne leurs problèmes de la stérilité à elles-mêmes.  La raison pourrait être à cause de la stigmatisation liée à la stérilité.  De plus, la plupart des femmes se sont débrouillées en s’appuyant sur leur foi chrétienne.  Les autres se sont débrouillées à travers le soutien de la part de leurs maris, à travers leurs occupations quand elle accomplissent l’indépendance économique et certaines d’entre elles ont évité des situations qui leur rappelaient leur problème de stérilité.  Les résultats devraient avoir des implications pour les membres du personnel médical puisque certaines stratégies adoptées par les femmes stériles peuvent être plus nuisibles que bénéfiques (Afr J Reprod Health 2009; 13[4]:81-93).




KEYWORDS: Coping strategies, Infertility treatment, Southern Ghana 

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