Dierickx, S. et al.(2019) Women with infertility complying with and resisting polygyny: an explorative qualitative study in urban Gambia. Reproductive Health vol .16, art. 103.
In many low-and middle-income countries women with infertility are often in polygynous marriages (i.e. marriages wherein men have multiple wives). In general, the practice of polygyny is understood to be harmful for women as it would have a negative impact on their health and general well-being. The purpose of this qualitative study is to explore how women with infertility experience polygyny and to understand their decision-making regarding these marriages. In-depth interviews were conducted between October 2017 and May 2018 in urban Gambia. With the exception of some women with infertility who described the positive impact of polygyny on their daily lives, most women discussed the conflicts that exist within polygynous households and the financial and emotional difficulties. We identified several strategies of women with infertility to deal with polygynous marriages, including overcoming childlessness, addressing conflict, spending time outside the compound, looking for social support, kanyaleng kafoolu (i.e. groups for women who experience infertility and child death), living separately and initiating divorce. Most women thought it was unlikely that the practice of polygyny would change. Women recommended the implementation of interventions that foster their empowerment and that would improve access to reproductive health care.