World population and infertility issues: Is she to blame?
Women Fertility Issues
According to UN, the world population reached 7 billion on October 31, 2011, and has continued to grow steadily over the years. July 11 has been set aside as the world population day, to discuss important population issues as well as affirm the human right to plan for a family.
The Malthusian theory of population states that the human population grows exponentially while food production grows at an arithmetic rate. Based on this principle, the world seeks to control its population growth, however, human concerns about reproduction are at odds with this approach. The principle and the harsh economic reality still can not dissuade humans from fulfilling their earnest desire of creating a replica of themselves.
Wanting a child is deeply rooted in a strong sociocultural as well as a biological influence which is sometimes referred to as a “biological urge” to create another copy of oneself; an innate desire of every living thing. Emotional and psychological reasons have been suggested as another common reason why people want children.
In Nigeria, a value is placed on having children, hence voluntary childlessness is uncommon. Therefore, childlessness in Nigeria can be said to be involuntary, it is believed that 3% of all women lack the capacity to conceive as reported by the Nigeria demographic and health survey 2013. It was also reported that 25% of married Nigerian couples suffer infertility.
In a society where the cultural norms and values encourage reproduction, the responsibility for fulfilling this desire is disproportionately placed on the shoulders of women. When a couple is yet to have a child, the woman is automatically assumed to be infertile, without thinking that the man can also be responsible for infertility. It has been proven that both sexes can be equally responsible for the inability of a couple to conceive, with males responsible for 40-50% of all infertility cases in Nigeria. Women are expected to have children and when they fall short of these expectations; they are stigmatized and treated like they have betrayed their entire point of existence.
A woman who is yet to conceive is exposed to all sort of discrimination and stigmatization. She is faced with personal frustration, guilt, shame, and depression; often times she is highly vulnerable because she is exposed to physical abuse, rejection, abandonment, and divorce in extreme cases.
These categories of women have tried to resolve their issues in different ways ranging from medical to spiritual solutions. Some women have tried IVF as a solution but it’s not affordable for everyone because of the high expenses involved.
To help these women; it is important that adequate awareness is embarked upon to demystify infertility as well as teach women the importance of pre-conception fertility care. It is important that policy makers design policies that protect childless women from social stigma; as well as an organization that can support childless women to gain access to quality fertility treatment at a subsidized cost.
By Yetunde Adefiranye