Koster W. Linking two opposites of pregnancy loss: Induced abortion and infertility in Yoruba society, Nigeria. Soc Sci Med 2010; 71:1788-1795.
Involuntary infertility and induced abortion exist on opposite sides of the spectrum: the first being the unwanted loss of childbearing potential while the second is the intentional termination of pregnancy. However, this paper proposes that these two poles of pregnancy loss are in fact related inYoruba society, Nigeria. This argument is supported by qualitative and quantitative data drawn from an applied research project in communities and health institutions of Lagos State, from 1996 to 1999, where a total of 693 women recounted 1114 personal abortion experiences, and 233 women shared their experiences of fertility problems. Study statistics show that 37% of secondary infertility was most probably the result of induced abortionand that half of women with abortion complications interviewed in a referral hospital will have fertility problems. This paper provides insight into the reasons why single and married women decide to abort, and use unsafe methods, despite awareness of the serious health risks, including infertility. This is paradoxical given that fear of infertility is a major reason why women do not use modern contraceptives when trying to prevent unwantedpregnancy. By analysing the relations between infertility and abortion within the socio-cultural, economic, and services-related structures that influence women's decisions, this paper suggests ways of addressing the problems related to both types of pregnancy loss.