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The Social Stigma of Infertility

Reviewed by
Best Fertility Centre In India
IVF Specialist, Chennai  •  23 years experience
The Social Stigma of Infertility

Infertility is a condition that can be caused due to a variety of reasons, for both males as well as females. Yet, it also comes with plenty of emotional baggage because there is a great deal of social stigma attached to childless parents, especially in the developing countries like India, where we still hold on to traditional thinking which does not really justify modern day realities.

Understanding Infertility in the Developing World: As per medical science, infertility is defined as a problem that is faced by couples who do not manage to conceive even after a year of trying without any birth control measures. In countries like ours, there is a great social stigma that is attached to being childless. As per many studies by the World Health Organization (WHO), about 15% of couples the world over are affected by infertility. Also, such cases go undetected because there is a great social stigma attached to the same. Further, there may be underlying conditions like Tuberculosis which may have been undiagnosed because people do not like to talk to doctors about the symptoms. The main problem in countries like India, and others areas is that people do not open up about such problems and they consider doctors and other medical practitioners as strangers.

Still in the Dark Ages: Even though we have made the transition from an agricultural country where we would pray to the elements and wait for signs for all our everyday activities from harvesting to childbirth, to an industrial country we are still in the dark ages as far as our social setup goes. There are many educated and well-heeled families where being childless is considered as an issue. And many people tend to go to astrologers and temples to change their fate, where a simple visit to a doctor and procedures like IVF, or adoption as the last resort, can also work out.


Infertility Stigma for Males and Females: For an infertile couple, the problem may stem from the male, or the female or both partners. There are still many social stigmas that are attached to this and many people in countries like India tend to call the woman barren, if she is unable to bear a child. In many cases, the male partner does not even go in for a check up as it is not even considered as an option that the problem might lie with him. Male erectile dysfunction, ejaculation problems, and general infertility can cause a range of issues for the couple when it comes to conception. So it is imperative to have the same checked by the doctor so that a sperm test can also be conducted and the treatment can carry on accordingly with the help of IUI or IVF.

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