Perceptions of Infertility and In Vitro Fertilization Treatment among Married Couples in Anambra State, Nigeria
There is a high rate of infertility among couples in Nigeria. This challenge is perceived differently in each socio-cultural context in which it is experienced but solution to the problem is adversely affected by the people‘s perception of the phenomenon. This study thus explored the perceptions of infertility and in vitro fertilization (IVF) and how to enhance the use of IVF treatment among married couples. This was a cross-sectional survey in Anambra State, Nigeria involving household respondents (married couples) and hospital respondents (couples undergoing infertility evaluation). Structured questionnaire and key informant interview (KII) guide were used for data collection. Altogether 600 questionnaires were administered and 589 were validly completed and analysed. The main outcome measures included perceptions of infertility and IVF treatment, utilization of IVF treatment and association between some demographic variables and IVF utilization. The results showed that infertility was perceived majorly as - destiny/supernatural powers (17.1%), threat to men‘s procreativity/continuity of lineage (14.3%), women‘s problem only (15.6%). Solutions to the challenges were adversely affected by perception. The use of IVF treatment was low with misconceptions like it‘s too costly (15.4%) and unnatural (7.6%), giving rise to unmet need for assisted reproductive technology. Women (especially above 35 years) were more likely to accept IVF treatment than men. Reproductive health education and awareness creation should target the misconceptions about infertility/IVF and fertility treatment should be covered by national health insurance to reduce the cost of IVF treatment and improve its use in Anambra State.
Keywords: Married couples, Infertility, In vitro fertilization, Perception, Anambra State, Nigeria