BACKGROUND: Infertility imposes profound psychological and social impacts on those with the problem. The financial burden is also immense. The World Health Organization has labeled infertility as a disabling health problem. This study examines the experiences of women with infertility and their treatment seeking practices.
METHODS: We conducted a qualitative study with phenomenological approach. Data were collected using an in-depth interview and observations among eight purposively selected women who were being seen at Saint Paul Hospital Millennium Medical College (SPHMMC), Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, infertility clinic from September 2015 to November 2015. The interviews were conducted by the investigator using a semi structured questionnaire discussion guide. The interviews were taped, then transcribed and translated into English. A bottom up approach was used to identify themes and sub themes.
RESULTS: Five themes and six sub themes were identified. Diverse negative emotional and psychological effects were reported. Both supportive and destructive changes were seen with relatives and friends. Treatments by in-laws and neighbors were largely negative. The women were constantly visiting different health facilities because of lack of definitive management. Religious activities were common.
CONCLUSION: Infertility deeply affects the life of infertile women with various emotional and social effects. The health system and health care providers should consider addressing managing the psychosocial aspects as well as providing advanced infertility treatment options. Further studies in exploring the life experiences are important preferably at community levels.
KEYWORDS: Infertility, experiences, treatment.
(Ethiopian Journal of Reproductive Health; 2018; 10; 4: 33-42)