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A rapid scoping review of fear of infertility in Africa

Boivin, Jacky, Carrier, Judith, Zulu, Joseph Mumba and Edwards, Deborah 2020. A rapid scoping review of fear of infertility in Africa. Reproductive Health 17 , 142. 10.1186/s12978-020-00973-0

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Background Fear of infertility (FOI) is often reported in studies about reproductive health but this literature not yet mapped. The aim of this rapid scoping review of qualitative studies was to describe the nature of FOI in Africa. Methods Eligibility criteria were qualitative data from Africa reporting views of women and men of any age. MEDLINE and CINAHL databases were searched for English language citations to February 2019 using keywords related to fear, infertility and Africa. Two independent reviewers screened texts for inclusion. Results Of 248 citations identified, 38 qualitative and six review papers were included. FOI was reported in diverse groups (e.g., men, women, fertile, infertile, married, unmarried, teachers, religious leaders). Two types of fears were identified: (1) fear of triggering infertility due to specific reproductive choices and (2) fear of the dire future consequences of infertility. Choices were perceived to affect fertility via internal accumulation and blockage (e.g., of menstrual blood), structural damage (e.g., burnt eggs), internal movement of contraceptive material, deliberate toxicity preventing population growth and behavioral effects impeding sexual activity. Diverse feared consequences of infertility were reported (e.g., polygamy, economic hardships). Fears were reported to affect reproductive behaviour (e.g., stopping contraception), help-seeking and social behaviour. Conclusion FOI is a phenomenon that should be studied in its own right. Fears could originate from genuine threats, incorrect knowledge, distortions of truths, or dissemination of false information. Rigorous studies are needed to better understand FOI and integrate it in health education, client counselling and family planning service provision.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Publisher: BioMed Central
ISSN: 1742-4755
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 25 August 2020
Date of Acceptance: 1 August 2020
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2020 13:52

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