A qualitative synthesis of the impact of infertility on the mental health of African women

Labinjo Temitope


Infertility is a reproductive problem that affects all gender, race, or social class. In many African countries, the burden of infertility is usually associated with economic, psychological, and socio-cultural factors. This review aimed to explore the factors that impact the mental health of African women with primary infertility. A qualitative evidence synthesis was used to summarise and analyse primary qualitative studies focused on the impact of primary infertility on African women. Seventeen studies met the eligibility criteria and were included in the review. The review found that social pressure, stigma from family and community members, and financial constraints led to psychological distress. In addition, social stigma also led to marital problems which led to significant psychological distress and low self-worth, especially on the wife. Recommendations to reduce stigma among African infertile women were as follows: advocacy and community mobilisation, education by health professionals, and holistic person-centred care. An intersectional approach to inform public health and social policy was also suggested. (Afr J Reprod Health 2022; 26[12]: 49- 57)

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