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Tropical Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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Female infertility and patriarchy: A reflection on medical science and biblical position

AI Olusola, M Ojo

Abstract


Marriage traditionally has been based upon gender relations that prescribed authority of husband over wives. The rituals of throwing rice to symbolize fertility and the woman's obligation to bear and raise children also illustrate normative gender relations. In other words, in the home, infertile women feel and bear most the consequences of masculine power and privileges. In the main, the paper discussed the medical science aspects of female infertility which explain that both sexes are liable to infertility. This could be as a result of several factors like damage to fallopian tube, hormonal cause, age, smoking cigarettes, sexually transmitted infections, overweight and the likes. However, the study showed that infertility hinges on patriarchy in both the bible and Yoruba culture which was cited as example. In both cases, childlessness is viewed as female problems and the depression experience by such women are
equivalent to suffering from terminal illness. The paper therefore argues for the exercising of “equal partner” model where the traditional marriage contract of shifting blame of infertility on women is completely disrupted. In other words, neither partner is more likely to perform provider roles. In practice, this might mean intentional sharing of blame, ridicule, abuse, segregation and violence associated with infertility.

Keywords: Infertility, Patriarchy, Women, Medical Science, Violence.




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