This situation plays itself in so many homesteads across Kenya. Whether it’s you, a close friend, or a relative, many couples are unable to conceive. And naturally the strain takes its toll on a relationship.
When a couple is unable to conceive, the man may divorce his wife or take another wife if they live in a culture that permits polygamy.
Childless women suffer discrimination, stigma and ostracism despite the fact that according to WHO male infertility has been found to be the leading cause of a couple’s failure to conceive in about 50% of cases.
It’s also important to note that more than 30% of women aged 25–49 suffer from secondary infertility, the failure to conceive after an initial first pregnancy.
MP Joyce Lay, who also works closely with Merck More than a mother campaign, states how stigmatization can be extreme in some countries, where infertile people are viewed as a burden on the socioeconomic well-being of a community.
“Stigma extends to the wider family, including siblings, parents and in-laws, who are deeply disappointed for the loss of continuity of their family and contribution to their community. This amplifies the guilt and shame felt by the infertile individual,” she says.
Jackline Mwende, whose husband allegedly chopped her hands and left her with terrible injuries is an example of crazy and criminal things infertile women experience. She is a real life example of why you should overcome infertility stigma as she is now pregnant and her life is taking a new turn.
We need to know that it’s a shared responsibility, not just for the couple but for the society too,” added Hon. Joyce Lay, Member of Parliament and the Ambassador for ‘Merck More than a Mother’.