Infertility issues for South Asian women

This article presents a discussion of some of the social, medical and psychological issues surrounding infertility for women who come from a South Asian background. Fertility is an important but often stressful subject. There is pressure to conceive, and those who fail to do so can face isolation and stigmatisation. Embarrassment is a reoccurring theme for women who are infertile and it is also a barrier to seeking treatment. Treatment is currently a postcode lottery although implementation of the NICE (2004) guidelines should mean that every woman has the same opportunity. Nevertheless there is a stigma attached to infertility treatment, and some South Asian couples use assisted conception secretly. Those women who do not speak English are at further disadvantage in that there is little translated written information. Sometimes there is also a reluctance, on the part of professionals, to offer appropriate counselling. Infertility treatments and options are ethically and practically complex, and understanding is essential. Even when fertility treatment is successful, the stress of what is often considered a high-risk pregnancy can create more problems for the couple concerned. The paper closes with a consideration of the implications of these factors for practitioners.

Author(s): Fiona R Cross-Sudworth

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