Dyer SJ, Abrahams N, Hoffman M et al.
Infertility in South Africa: women’s reproductive health knowledge and treatment-seeking behaviour. Hum Reprod 2002; 17(6): 1657-62.
Infertility is a major reproductive health problem in Africa. This paper presents the findings of two studies which focus on the knowledge that infertile women have about fertility and the causes of infertility, their treatment-seeking behaviour and their expectations of an infertility clinic.
A total of 150 infertile women from a culturally diverse, urban community in South Africa participated in the two studies. Both qualitative and quantitative research methods were applied using in-depth, semi-structured interviews and structured questionnaires.
The women who participated had little knowledge about human reproduction and modern treatment options for infertility. They were highly motivated to find treatment and accessed both traditional and modern health care. Treatment barriers within modern health care were identified.
The importance of health education and counselling is recognized, and both need to be integrated into infertility management, particularly in the developing world. The introduction of clinical guidelines is recommended in order to overcome treatment barriers and improve the delivery of health services.