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. In view of these findings, the study recommend among others that: 1) mass enlightenment of the public could help increase the knowledge of the causes of infertility among married couples and also reduce feeling of inferiority complex among childless couples; 2) childless couples should seek for medical treatment jointly instead of allowing one partner to carry the burden alone among others.
1.1 Background to 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.