Issues of Infertility in Developing Countries.


Developing countries excluding Least Developed...

Developing countries excluding Least Developed Countries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whenever one mentions the provision of infertility treatment in developing countries, the reaction of the people is almost unanimously negative (Pennings, 2008).  The more one believes in the cultural construction of infertility, the more one will believe that infertility should be tackled not by treating the infertile but by targeting the ideologies that cause the problem (Sandelowsky and de Lacey, 2002). This statement emphasized the past situation that was prevalent in India in the early 18th and the 19th century.  Infertility and its issues are still looked upon and the populations with infertility issues are stigmatized. The significance of involuntary infertility is socially constructed and gender roles play a major role in constituting the social meaning of infertility. This is true in the developed as well as the developing world (Becker and Nachtigall, 1994).

The era in the early 18th and the 19th century was regarded as the toughest era for a woman to survive with the infertility issues. The narrow mindedness of the society and the notion that a woman is unable to conceive was solely treated as a woman’s fault. In some of the cases that I have heard from my grandmother were very disappointing. My grandmother told me once that a woman who shows infertility and is unable to conceive is often treated worst in the society. Not only is she looked upon but sometimes women are burnt alive. The husband of the woman is forced to marry someone else in front of her eyes by his mother (husband’s mother) and the life of the woman is shattered with no hopes. This was highly practiced in the early 18th and the 19th century. The shadows of these practices are still prevalent in some low populated villages in India. Infertility is always looked up as a woman’s fault and males are always spared from the stigma.

However, as of now the people are getting highly educated and therefore stigmatization has vastly decreased to an extent.  My grandmother also told me incidents where a male child was more welcomed in the family than a female child. Practices were also noted where a female child was killed purposefully after birth and female abortions were highly practiced.  My grandmother herself was told after her marriage that if she failed to give birth to a male child she will be bitten and will be out casted from the society. Mother-in-laws (regardless that they are women themselves) treats their daughter-in laws in a very harsh way if they fail to conceive a male child.

Although all this practices and customs have far been reduced now in India still some practices are noted in more remote villages where illiteracy still exists. It was also considered in the olden times that women who give highest birth are the luckiest. As a result there were no family planning system and in some circumstance the women have lost their lives giving birth to more than 15 children.  My great grandmother who was born in 1901 had 17 brothers and sisters all together.  The most shocking thing that I have heard from my nanny (my maternal grandmother) is that if a male suffers from impotency he forces his wife to hide that from the society.  If his wife tries to speak up in the society her mother-in-law along with her husband used to burn her alive. That is ridiculous!

Looking at all the above mention scenarios I do arrive at the conclusion that spreading the knowledge about health care is a must.  Time went by and people got educated regarding  all this norms and are still trying to correct their mistakes. However, literacy has still not covered some remote areas in India where stigma, infertility issues and narrow-mindedness still prevails.

My question is will global health care help to spread and educate people in the remote areas where illiteracy still prevails?  If yes, then who will educate them?  Do we need people with specialized education in global health care to educate them or this can be done by people specialized in any health care field?  If yes then will government provide funding for the same?

Thanks,

References:

Pennings, G., (2008). Ethical Issues of Infertility Treatments in Developing Countries.  Human Reproduction, 15-20. doi:10.1093/humrep/den142.

Sandelowsky M, de Lacey S, (2002). The uses of a ‘disease’: infertility as rhetorical vehicle. In: Inhorn MC, Van Balen F (eds). Infertility around the Globe. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 33–51

Becker, G., & Nachtigall, R.D., (1994). Eager for medicalisation: the social production of infertility as a disease. Sociol Health Illn, 14:456–471

8 thoughts on “Issues of Infertility in Developing Countries.

  1. A very interesting and informative read. Thanks for sharing. Important issues are brought to light and I sincerely hope that these kind of stigmas and negativity surrounding infertility are reduced to an extent where they are non existent.

    • Hello Saajjida,
      Thank You so much for reading about the issues. I am glad that you found it informative. Yes stigma will continue to prevail in the society but we can make a difference.
      Thank you,
      Sweta

  2. Pingback: Accept infertility as an answer? No way! | In The Bed Inside Me.

  3. No Brasil o governo financia o sistema público de saúde, porém, nas áreas remotas do país esse sistema funciona precariamente pela falta de estrutura hospitalar e de profissionais de saúde capacitados.

    Abraços,
    Jocélio.

    • Olá Joceilo,
      Obrigado pela visita. Concordo que o sistema de saúde é um falso grande em zonas rurais, especialmente se a maioria está sendo cuidado pelo governo.
      Eu gostaria de ouvir mais sobre isso de você. Como funciona o governo? Quem cuida do sistema de cuidados de saúde? É o governement estado ou do governo federal? Quanto o governo investir em cuidados de saúde? Vocês têm sistema de seguro? Tem caras têm co-paga nos seguros?
      Obrigado por responder a todos a minha pergunta. É um prazer tê-lo aqui. Obrigado mais uma vez!
      Com relação mais gentil,
      Sweta

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