n Gender and Behaviour - Infertility in Nigeria : a risk factor for gender based violence

Volume 7, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1596-9231



Infertility is a health as well as a social problem judging from the perspective of the individual concerned, health care providers and the society at large. Clinically, infertility refers to failure of a couple to establish pregnancy after one year of having unprotected and adequate sexual intercourse. Infertility is deeply associated with socio-cultural factors, thus, beyond the clinical definition, infertility may have varying cultural definitions. It does not always refer to an inability to give birth to a child. Inability to have the desired number of children, not having sons or not being pregnant soon after the commencement of sexual activity constitutes infertility within some cultures. Typically, in Nigeria, a fulfilled marriage is expected to be characterized by a homestead bustling with children. In the light of this normative prescription, failure of married persons to produce children is perceived as deviant particularly in the African context where children are presumably the major reason for marriage. The consequences of infertility include psychological, social and physical suffering. Of special interest in the context of this paper is that the woman is often made to bear the brunt of infertility even when the problem cannot be traced to any reproductive malfunctioning on her part. This in itself is Gender Based Violence (GBV). In the course of this paper, GBV will be examined exclusively from the perspective of infertility as it pertains to the acts of violence frequently suffered by women in infertile relationships. To this effect; some case studies will be examined to elucidate the consequences of infertility as a risk factor for GBV as well proffer solutions on the way forward.

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