Childlessness and health seeking behavior in resource poor setting of dang and Udayapur district of Nepal


  • Rajani Gupta Women’s Rehabilitation Centre (WOREC), Lalitpur, Nepal
  • Renu Adhikari Women’s Rehabilitation Centre (WOREC), Lalitpur, Nepal
  • Poonam Rishal Women’s Rehabilitation Centre (WOREC), Lalitpur, Nepal



Childlessness, Health seeking behavior, Consequences, Barriers, Qualitative research


Background: Childlessness is not problem in resource-poor area where fertility rates are high. The consequence of childlessness is very severe in low-income countries like Nepal, particularly for women. Childless women are frequently stigmatized, isolated, ostracized, disinherited and neglected by the family and local community. This may result in physical and psychological abuse, polygamy and even suicide. The aim of the study is to explore the perception of childlessness, its cause and consequences and health seeking behavior among couples in order to develop strategies for action and policy-setting.

Methods: This was a qualitative study conducted in Dang and Udayapur district of Nepal. Childlessness couple were recruited through snowball sampling. Information was also gathered from key informant and Focus group discussion. All interview were audiotaped using a digital recorder.

Results: Women expressed that they are being discriminated, humiliated and intimated by their family members and society for being childlessness. Despite childlessness problem with husband, women experience emotional and physical abuse. Financial constraints and unaffordable service as one of the major problems among couple that led to withdrawal or stop attending their follow up for modern treatment.

Conclusions: The study concludes that childlessness women suffer from all spare of their personal and social life although childlessness is a biomedical cause. Financial hardship and family pressure made them to seek traditional healer for first treatment approach for childlessness rather than modern method of treatment. Therefore, childlessness needs to be seen as a public health issue rather than a pure medical condition. Hence, multi-sectoral (i.e., Preventive, promotive and social dimension) response to address childlessness could be valuable.



Bamidele R, Pelumi O. Childlessness and its Socio-Cultural Implication on Married Couples within Some Selected Yoruba Communities in South-West Nigeria. Int J Innovative Social Sci Humanities Res. 2017;5(1):42-54.

Adewunmi AA, Etti EA, Tayo AO, Raibu KA, Akindele RA, Ottun TA et al. Factors associated with acceptability of child adoption as a management option for infertility among women in a developing country. Int J Women’s Health. 2012;4:365-72.

Dyer SI. The value of children in African countries, insight from studies in infertility. J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. 2007;28(2):69-77.

World Health Organization. Multiple definition of infertility: Sexual and reproductive health. Available at: Accessed on 21 October 2016.

Sheoran P, Sarin J. Infertility in India: Social, religion and cultural influence. Int J Reproduct Contrac obste gynecol. 2015;4(6):1783-8.

Baudin T, D de la Croix, Gobbi P. Endogenous Childlessness and Stages of Development. CEPR Discussion Paper. 2017;12071.

El Kissi Y, Amamou B, Hidar S, Idrissi A. Quality of life of infertile Tunisian Couples and difference According to Gender. Int j Gynaecol Obstetr. 2014;125(2);134-7.

Wischmann T, Scherg H, Stowitzki T. Psychosocial characteristics of women and men attending infertility Clinic. Human Reproduction. 2009;24(2):378-85.

Thapa BB. Lived Experience of Infertility among Community Dwelling infertility among Women. J Nobel Med College. 2020;7(4):46-56.

Papreen N, Sharma A, Sabin K, Begum L, Ashan SK, Baqui AH. Living with infertility: Experiences among urban slum populations in Bangladesh. Int j Sexual Reproduct Health Rights. 2000;77:33-44.

Dyer SJ, Abrahams N, Hoffman M, Supy ZMV. Infertility in South Africa: Women's Reproductive Health Knowledge and Treatment- Seeking Behavior for Involuntary Infertility. Human Reproduction. 2002;17(6):1657-62.

Mumtaz Z, Shahid U, Levay A. Understanding the impact of gendered roles on the experiences of infertility amongst men and women in Punjab. BMC Reproductive Health. 2013;10(3).

Obeisat S, Gharaibeh KM, Oweis A, Gharaibeh H. Adversities of Being Infertile: The experience of Jordanian Women. Fertility Sterility. 2012;98(2):444-9.

Sami N, Ali TS. Psychosocial consequences of secondary infertility in Karachi, J Pak Med Assoc. 2006;56(1):19-22.

Mishra K, Dubey A. Indian Women’s Perspective on Reproduction and Childlessness: Narrative Analysis. Int J Humanities Social Sci. 2014;4(6):157-14.

Fido A. Emotional distress in infertile women in Kuwait. Int J Fertil Womens Med. 2004;49(1);24-8.

Pearce T. She will not be listened to in public: perceptions among the Yoruba of infertility and childlessness in women. Reproductive Health Matters. 1999;7:69-79.

Roudsari LR, Allan HT. Women’s experience and Preferences in Relation to infertility counseling: A multi faith Dialogue. Int J Fertility Sterility. 2011;5(3):158-67.

Berger R, Marilyn S, Henshaw LA. Women’s Experience of infertility: A multi systemic Perspective. Journal of International Women’s Studies. 2013;14(1):54-68.

Ombelet W, Cooke I, Dyer S, Devroey P, Devroey P. Infertility and medical services in developing countries. Human Reproduction Update. 2008;14(6):605-21.

Inhorn MC. Middle Eastern masculinities in the age of new reproductive technologies: male infertility and stigma in Egypt and Lebanon. Med Anthropol Q. 2004;18(20):162-82.

Kobeissi L, Inhorn MC. Health issues in the Arab American community. Male infertility in Lebanon: a case-controlled study. Ethn Dis. Summer. 2007;17(2-3):s3-33-s3-38.

Ramezandaden F. A survey of relationship between anxiety, depression and duration of infertility. BMC Women Health. 2004;4(1):9.






Original Research Articles