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African Population Studies
Union for African Population Studies
ISSN: 0850-5780
Vol. 19, No. 2, 2004, pp. 63-88
Bioline Code: ep04013
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

African Population Studies, Vol. 19, No. 2, 2004, pp. 63-88

 en Life Histories of Infertile Women in Ugep, Southern Nigeria
Obono, Oka


This paper discusses the main qualitative results of an investigation into the meanings and consequences of infertility among the Yakurr of southern Nigeria, based on life histories of infertile women in Ugep, Cross River State. Five out of the six respondents were ever-married and four had been divorced at least once, on account of infertility. By examining biographical narratives of infertile women among the deeply pronatalist Yakurr, the paper brings a variety of local structural factors and ideologies to bear on the understanding of infertility in southern Nigeria. The narratives promote appreciation of the context-specific factors that shape the human experience of childlessness. The results indicate that this experience is molded by the moral order, which is moderated by human agency. They show that treatment seeking behaviour is inconstant and gendered, and a function of the prominent considerations of infertile women as they move through the life course. In discussing these and related subjects, the paper contributes to the renewed emphasis in social demography on the human and existential character of population events.

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