Socio-Demographic Correlates of Women’s Infertility and Treatment Seeking Behavior in India
Background:Infertility is an emergent issue in India. Until recently, very few studies have understood the patterns and consequences of infertility in India. Family planning programs in India also viewed exclusively the patterns and determinants of overfertility rather than infertility. Furthermore, there is the lack of information about treatment seeking behavior of infertile couples. Therefore, this paper aimed to examine the extent of infertility and treatment seeking behavior among infertile women in India. An attempt was also made to evaluate the effects of socio-demographic factors on treatment seeking behavior.Methods:The study used the data from the District Level Household and Facility Survey carried out in India during 2007–08. Several statistical techniques such as chi-square test, proportional hazard model and binary logistic regression model were used for the analysis.Results:Approximately, 8% of currently married women suffered from infertility in India and most of them were secondary infertile (5.8%). Within India, women’s infertility rate was the highest in west Bengal (13.9 percent) and the lowest in Meghalaya (2.5 percent). About 80% of infertile women sought treatment but a substantial proportion (33%) received non-allopathic and traditional treatment due to expensive modern treatment and lack of awareness.Conclusion:In the context of policy response, it can be said that there is a need to improve the existing services and quality of care for infertile women. Treatment for infertility should be integrated into the larger reproductive health packages.