Quality of life of Sudanese patients attending a fertility clinic: a mixed methods study

Rasha R. Bayoumi, Emily Koert, Jacky Boivin, Kasisomayajula Viswanath, Margaret McConnell

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Abstract

Background: Infertility affects over 50 million people globally, the burden is disproportionately borne by women, especially in low and middle-income countries (LMIC). The impact of infertility on quality of life (QoL) has not been well documented or assessed qualitatively in LMIC like Sudan, where infertility is a pervasive problem. Therefore, the purpose of this mixed-methods study was to assess the fertility-related QoL of infertile individuals in Sudan using the fertility quality of life (FertiQoL) tool.

Methods: We used explanatory sequential design (surveys and interviews) in a fertility clinic in Sudan (January 2017–May 2018). We collected socio-demographic information, medical/reproductive history and used Arabic FertiQoL. We generated descriptive statistics of FertiQoL (core, domain) scores and independent variables; multiple linear regression models to assess the relationship between FertiQoL and dependent variables; and t-tests to compare mean core/domain scores. We conducted thematic analysis on qualitative data about the subjective experience of being infertile.

Results: The study included 102 participants (72 women), 70 educated beyond secondary school, mean age 33.89 years (SD = 7.82) and mean duration of infertility was 4.03 years (SD 3.29). Mean FertiQoL core score 76.02 (SD = 16.26), domain scores: emotional 71.61 (SD = 22.04), relational 78.06 (SD = 16.62), mind/body 74.06 (SD 22.53) and social 78.88 (SD = 18.24). Men had better fertility-related QoL.

Four themes emerged: A sense of something missing because of childlessness; social pressure from peoples’ questions; impact on the spousal relationship (which differed amongst participants) and coping (faith-based and non-faith-based) which was necessary when the lived experience led to internal distress.

Conclusions: Infertility negatively impacted the QoL of participants in this study, and women were worse off. Cognitive appraisal, social support and pressure may be key factors influencing the QoL of infertile individuals, therefore they should be encouraged to seek social and professional support. FertiQoL is a useful tool to assess fertility QoL in LMIC like Sudan.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1006-1030
Number of pages25
JournalHealth Psychology and Behavioral Medicine
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Infertility
  • mixed methods
  • Sudan
  • quality of life
  • FertiQoL

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