“Children are highly valued, and childlessness is culturally not acceptable in any typical sub-Saharan African community. Involuntary infertility is associated with significant distress and psychological disturbances, and different psychiatric disorders have been reported among women undergoing fertility treatment.” – D Sulyman
Dr. D. Sulyman of the Department of Psychiatry, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital, Nigeria carried out a study which aimed to determine prevalence of anxiety and depressive disorders and factors that were predictive of these disorders among women with infertility problem that were attending clinic at a Northeastern Nigerian Teaching Hospital. The study was a cross-sectional, questionnaire-based survey of two hundred and seven adult women on treatment for infertility. Their sociodemographic variables were obtained by the use of pro formal questionnaire and clinical parameters were obtained from their case notes.
He employed hospital anxiety and depression scale to determine the presence of anxiety and/or depression using cut-off point of 11. Eighty-five of his respondents had anxiety and/or depressive disorders which constituted 41.1% of the studied population. Fifty-seven respondents (27.5%) had anxiety disorders while fifty-three (25.6%) had depression and thirty-seven-people (17.9%) had co-morbidity for both disorders.
His research discovered factors that were predictive of depression to include: previous marriage, lack of support, stigmatizing behaviours, tuba-uterine factor as the cause of infertility and surgical method of treatment. Similarly, factors that were predictive of anxiety disorder were: stigmatizing behaviours and lack of supports. Others were long duration of infertility treatment and surgical treatment for infertility as against medical treatment.
His study found high prevalence of depression and anxiety disorders among women on treatment for infertility and therefore recommend that more attention be paid to their mental health.