Quest for Conception: Exploring Treatment Patterns Associated with Infertility in Ghana

Rosemond A. Hiadzi, Isaac M. Boafo

Abstract

Due to the pronatalist orientation of the Ghanaian society and the social consequences of childlessness, infertile persons adopt several health seeking strategies in their bid to have their own children. This study therefore explored the health seeking behaviour of infertile Ghanaians and the factors that influence this behavior. The study adopted a qualitative research approach. Forty-five semi-structured in-depth interviews were used to collect data. The findings suggest that treatment seeking behaviour of infertile Ghanaians was motivated largely by perceived cause and belief in the efficacy of a treatment form. Two main treatment seeking patterns emerged from the data, hierarchical and concurrent treatment seeking behaviours. Although participants combined spiritual healing with either herbal or orthodox medicine, a combination of orthodox and herbal seemed inappropriate to them. The findings of this study should have implications for healthcare workers in general as the quest for biological parenthood and the treatment seeking behaviours employed by the infertile could be detrimental to the health of these individuals. For instance, the use of unregulated herbalists and itinerant herbal medicine sellers, as well as the over reliance on spiritual healing could have dire implications for health. (Afr J Reprod Health 2020; 24[2]:27-39).

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