Author: Okafor Nneka Ihuoma
Department: Sociology/Anthropology
Affiliation: Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka

Although there is a high rate of infertility in Nigeria, solution to the problem is adversely affected by poor perception of the phenomenon. There are many treatment options for infertility such as the traditional method, faith based solution, and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). However, the use of IVF for the treatment of infertility in Anambra state is low. This is because of some socio-economic and cultural barriers affecting the use of IVF in the treatment of infertility in the state. Consequently, the need for bio technology for the treatment of infertility is often unmet. There is therefore a need to understand the perceptions of In Vitro Fertilization in the treatment of infertility amongst married couples in Anambra State, Nigeria. The study was based on cross sectional study design using a sample size of 589 married couples aged 18 years and above who were recruited using the multi-stage sampling technique made up of cluster, simple random sampling and systematic, sampling techniques. Data were collected using the questionnaire and the Key Informant Interview (KII) Guide. Quantitative data obtained was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) presented and interpreted using descriptive statistical analysis such as simple percentages, frequency distribution tables and graphical illustrations. The KII interviews were transcribed and analysed using thematic content analysis. The findings show that majority of the respondents perceive infertility to be as a result of destiny/supernatural powers. There are also poor perceptions and lack of awareness of IVF as treatment method of infertility in Anambra state. Even those who are aware of IVF tend to lack adequate knowledge of it. The use of IVF for the treatment of infertility is encumbered with social, economic and cultural, factors in Anambra state. Cultural belief and practices, religious affiliation, duration of marriage, income, and cost of IVF treatment are some of the strong determinants for the use of IVF services. The study also found that perception of infertility affects every aspect of a couple’s wellbeing and marital satisfaction. Furthermore, successful IVF treatment was found to offer hope and enhance marital satisfaction among married couples in Anambra state. Based on the findings, it was recommended that reproductive health education programmes and awareness creation targeting the misconceptions about IVF as well as reduction of the cost of IVF treatment can enhance and improve the use of IVF in Anambra State.

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