The Social Consequences of Infertility among Iranian
Women: A Qualitative Study
Infertility may prevent couples to achieve the desired social roles and lead to some social and psychological problems. This study aimed to explain the social consequences of infertility in Iranian women seeking treatment.
Materials and Methods
A qualitative content analysis was conducted based on 32 semi-structured interviews with 25 women affected by primary and secondary infertility with no surviving children. The participants were purposefully selected with maximum variability from a fertility health research center in Tehran, Iran, from January to October 2012. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews and analyzed using the conventional content analysis method.
Our findings indicate that the consequences of infertility are divided into five main categories: 1. violence including psychological violence and domestic physical violence, 2. marital instability or uncertainty, 3. social isolation including avoiding certain people or certain social events and self-imposed isolation from family and friends, 4. social exclusion and partial deprivation including being disregarded by family members and relatives and reducing social interactions with the infertile woman and 5. social alienation.
This study reveals that Iranian women with fertility issues seeking treatment face several social problems that could have devastating effects on the quality of their lives. It is, therefore, recommended that, in Iran, infertility is only considered as a biomedical issue of a couple and pay further attention to its sociocultural dimensions and consequences.