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Doctoral thesis book.

Doctoral defence of Dorcas Ofosu-Budu, MPhil, 17 Dec 2021: Infertility among married women in rural Ghana: cultural contexts and individuals' lived experiences

The doctoral dissertation in the Social Psychology will be examined at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies at Kuopio Campus.

What is the topic of your doctoral research, Dorcas Ofosu-Budu?

The research focused on the lived experiences of married women with infertility in rural Ghana. These women faced a plethora of negative consequences following their situation. In some cases, they are usually sidelined and stigmatized because of the perceived causes of the condition. The study highlights the women’s own views, understanding and perception of infertility. It also combined the voices of the women with infertility and herbalists specialized in infertility on ways to reduce the stigma associated with infertility in southern and northern Ghana.

What are the key findings or observations of your doctoral research?

From the women’s perspectives, infertility can result from medical, lifestyle, spiritual, natural or unknown causes. In situations where the women had no idea about the cause of their condition, they ascribed to the perceived causes by society. It was observed that some husbands joined other parties in stigmatizing their wives. This feature was common in polygamous marriages wherein the husbands’ other wife had already given birth. For example, some husbands’ offered money to their wives through their children to deprive their childless wives of financial assistance. Interviews with the herbalists brought to the fore some of the ungrounded traditional beliefs they held about infertility, breeding intense stigma and causing detrimental effects to the women. Overall, most of the herbalists had immense knowledge and wisdom on infertility.

How can the results of your doctoral research be utilised in practice?

There is a need to demystify and reduce the myths surrounding infertility. Consequently, the herbalists, women with infertility and the populace need to be educated on the scientific causes of infertility. Government and stakeholders must devise ways of improving the well-being of women by providing them with entrepreneurial skills to earn some money for their upkeep. Government must employ the services of counsellors and psychologists to periodically provide them with some form of counselling to improve their well-being.

What are the key research methods and materials used in your doctoral research?

The data were collected through qualitative interviews and specifically, the interpretative phenomenological analysis for the lived experiences of the married women with infertility and thematic analysis for the views of herbalists on infertility.


The doctoral defence of Dorcas Ofosu-Budu, Mphil, entitled Infertility among married women in rural Ghana: cultural contexts and individuals' lived experiences, will be examined at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies on 17 December 2021 noon at Snellmania building, SN201, Kuopio Campus. The Opponent will be Professor Johanne Sundby, University of Oslo, and the Custos will be Professor Vilma Hänninen, University of Eastern Finland. Language of the public defence is English. Public examination will be streamed live.

For further information, please contact:

Dorcas Ofosu-Budu,, +358465446470