Living in a man’s world: An exploratory study of the experiences of Ghanaian women with infertility problems


In pronatalist Ghana, infertility is frowned upon, thus many married couples want children to meet societal expectations. Some couples, however, struggle with conception and childbirth. Over one out of 10 Ghanaians have challenges with fertility and may need In vitro fertilization (IVF) to become parents. Reaching the decision to opt for IVF may be challenging for some couples. Using a qualitative in-depth interviews, this study explored the experiences of 35 purposively selected married women with infertility challenges. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically. Women in such marriages often bear more due to the patriarchal society they live in. This study findings uncovers gendered discrepancies at every stage of the journey towards desired conception: commencing medically assisted reproduction, blame for infertility, social consequences of advancing age, and unpleasant treatment procedures. Some of these women survive in a difficult environment by relying on their inner strength and economic independence. The study shows the importance of male marital support for these women’s psychological well-being and treatment effectiveness.