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Abstract

The research is an analysis of the socio-cultural impact of childless married couples, and it was carried out in Fagge local government area of Kano state. The study explored ways of reducing pressure both from the family and the society as a whole with particular reference to examining the existing causes and effects of infertility in the society. The instrument for data collection used for this research was questionnaire. The sampling techniques used for this study was cross- sectional survey research design. One hundred and thirteen (113) respondents were randomly selected. The data collected were analyzed using tables and percentages. From the analysis of the data, the major findings among others include; women are not fully blamed for the  cause of infertility like it use to be, majority of the population are aware of the medical treatment for infertility but choose not to sought for it. It is also found out that there is negative attitude of childless couples towards child adoption and seeking medical treatment as a solution to their problem.

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the study

Marriage is a universal phenomenon in Africa and among Nigerians it is a union between a man and woman that brings together families, communities, and ethnic groups (Ekong 1988). The system of marriage varies from people to people, and what is considered as the importance of marriage varies, however one general belief is that marriage is aimed at procreation, that is to say marriage and procreation are inseparable. Approximately 70-80 million couples worldwide are currently infertile (Bos et al., 1995; Boivinet al., 2007) and it can be estimated that tens of millions couples are primarily infertile or childless

Procreation is one of the major functions of the family. Every man takes a wife apparently to have children, and where this purpose is not forth coming into fulfillment, it results to tension in most cases which lead to misunderstanding and disputes in the family. Other reasons or purpose for marriage include: sexual satisfaction, companionship and economic incentive. Many wives try to ensure the procreation of children to its fullest limit. For most people bearing children is very important, and the inability to do so is a great life problem. There are men and women who have children in their previous relationship, but are desperately in need of another child.

For most of history, childlessness has been regarded as great personal tragedy involving much emotional pain and grief, especially when it results from failure to conceive or from the death of a child (Mail, Charlene, 1986); this is because children are seen as a symbol of self-fulfillment both socially and economically. According to Ebigbola (2000), modernization has not weakened the deep-rooted tradition of having children as soon as possible after marriage; this is because they are needed for so many reasons, which are both socio-cultural and economic. Recent studies conducted in societies in Egypt, Nigeria, Mozambique and the Gambia reviewed that women who are childless are often segregated and excluded from social gatherings or despised (Kabsa 1994,Gerrits, Okonofu,Sundby 1997). Where ignorance prevails, childlessness is usually blamed on the woman. In a more recent study in Benin City, Nigeria, Omage (2013) reported that childless women are regarded as worthless and deserved to be divorced. This in itself adds to the high level of negative emotional and social effects of childlessness. Childlessness has varied consequences through its effects on societies and on the lifestyles and life chances of individuals. The childless lifestyle enhances life satisfaction for some individuals, while diminishing it for others, for whom parenthood was a personal goal. For societies, childlessness is a factor in low birth rates and population decline, with which are associated diminishing labour force entries and rising proportions in older ages. Childlessness is therefore a consideration for policy makers, both because of its demographic impact and because of its effects on the lives of individuals. The latter become most apparent in the older ages, where childlessness means that family resources for support of the disabled or frail are less assured (World Health Organization, 1999). Studies of the advantages and disadvantages of childlessness in later life suggest that well-being is not necessarily dependent on children, because the childless can meet their expressive (emotional) needs through greater contact with other relatives, friends, and neighbours, as well as with organizations such as clubs and churches. However, the childless in poor health appear to have a higher risk of social isolation or of admission to aged care institutions. This implies that the support networks of the childless elderly are less effective in providing instrumental (practical) support, at least when the need is continuing. Although the majority of the elderly do not necessarily see family care as the best alternative, without the prospect of periodic help from children, or their assistance as a last resort, the childless must be more reliant on formal services or institutional care. Thus, as cohorts with high proportions childless reach the older ages, familycentered approaches to aged care become less effective. In the late twentieth century, many of the aged in industrialized countries had few close relatives, which brought to the fore questions about their access to support. The decline of childlessness among later cohorts is now reducing the prevalence of such problems. However, by the 2020s, similar concerns about the adequacy of personal resources will confront the 1950s cohorts, as childlessness continues to shape their destiny. The proportions childless are unlikely to fall below 10 percent in any of the more developed countries for which data are available. Merriam Webster dictionary (2002) marriage is the legally or formally recognized union of a man and a woman. Though a universal phenomenon, cultural differences abound in the formation of the family and the universal features are important. Everybody makes choices on a daily basis; some of them are as simple as choosing a lunch menu but others are as serious as whom to marry. These choices, big or small, shape our lives and future. Whether or not to become a parent is one of the significant and serious choices

  • STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Infertility and involuntary childlessness are traumatic human conditions. Many couples desire to have biological children of their own and when there is an inability to reproduce, it creates a sense of personal loss and tragedy. The World Health Organisation (WHO) views the medical condition of infertility as a global health problem and accepts that it is more of a critical health problem in the developing world. A 2012 WHO study based on previous data gathered from the Demographic and Health Surveys estimate that one in four couples in developing countries is infertile. Several of these infertile or involuntary childless people are located in what some scholars have described as pro-natal states. Some of these states fall within the Sub-Saharan African region which consists of countries that lie geographically south of the Sahara desert it is in view of the above that the researcher intend to investigate the socio cultural impact of childlessness

  • OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

The main objective of this study is to ascertain the socio cultural impact of childlessness; but to aid the completion of this study the researcher intend to achieve the following specific objective;

  1. To ascertain the socio cultural impact of childlessness
  2. To examine the effect of childlessness on marital conflict
  • To examine the role of in-laws in addressing the challenges of childlessness between their children
  1. To ascertain the causes of childlessness among married couples
    • RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

The following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher to aid the completion of the study;

H0there is no socio cultural of impact of childlessness among married couples

H1there is a socio cultural of impact of childlessness among married couples

H0in-laws do not play any significant role in addressing the challenges of childlessness between their children

H2in-laws do play a significant role in addressing the challenges of childlessness between their children

  • SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of great importance to the department of sociology as the study will serve as a source of information to the student on the subject matter; the study will also be beneficial to researchers who intend to embark on a study in a similar topic as the study will serve as a reference point to further studies. Finally, the study will be of great importance to student, academia’s, student, lecturers, researchers and the general public as the study will add to the pool of existing literature, and also add to knowledge.

  • SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

The scope of the study covers the socio cultural impact of childlessness, but in the cause of the study, there were some factors that limited the scope of the study;

Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

Inadequate Materials: Scarcity of material is also another hindrance. The researcher finds it difficult to long hands in several required material which could contribute immensely to the success of this research work.

Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

1.7 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS

Childlessness

Childlessness is the state of people  men and women not having children. Childlessness may have personal, social or political significance. Childlessness, which may be by choice or circumstance, is distinguished from voluntary childlessness, or being “childfree”, which is voluntarily having no children

Socio-cultural

A sociocultural system is a “human population viewed in its ecological context and as one of the many subsystems of a larger ecological system”. The term “sociocultural system” embraces three concepts: society, culture, and system

Couple

Two partners in a romantic or sexual relationship

 

1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY

This research work is presented in five (5) chapters in accordance with the standard presentation of research work.

Chapter one contains the introduction which include; background of the study, statement of the problem, aim and objectives of study, research questions, significance of study, scope of study and overview of the study. Chapter two deals with review of related literature. Chapter three dwelt on research methodology which include; brief description of the study area, research design, sources of data, population of the study, sample size and sampling technique, instrument of data collection, validity of instrument, reliability of instrument and method of data presentation and analysis. Chapter four consists of data presentation and analysis while chapter five is the summary of findings, recommendations and conclusion.

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