Women’s beliefs about infertility and sexual behaviors: A qualitative study

Mahshid Bokaie, Masoumeh Simbar, Seyed Mojtaba Yassini Ardekani, Hamid Alavi Majd



Background: Infertility is a reproductive health problem and its prevalence is increasing in developing countries. This problem has some significant effects on the sexual behaviors of infertile women, especially during infertility treatment periods. Discovering the existing beliefs in the field of sexual and reproductive health and also determining the misconceptions would define the educational needs for providing sexual health programs for infertile women. Women should be able to distinguish risky behaviors from healthy behaviors that falsely have been marked as infertility-related behaviors. This qualitative study was conducted to determine women’s beliefs about infertility and sexual behaviors among Iranian infertile women.

Materials and Methods: The present study was a qualitative conventional content analysis study conducted on 15 infertile women and 8 key informants until reaching data saturation. Guba and Lincoln evaluative criteria were used for ensuring rigor of the study.

Results: Data analysis defined three classes of beliefs that directly or indirectly affected sexual behaviors in infertile women: 1) Cultural, religious, or ethnic beliefs, 2) believing in the effect of diet on infertility, and 3) effect of the type of intercourse
on getting pregnant.

Conclusions: Three themes of religious, cultural, and ethnic beliefs, believing in the effect of diet on infertility, and the effect of the type of intercourse were the most important factors indicating sexual behaviors among infertile women. It seems that cultural and social matters are the most effective factors on sexual behaviors of infertile Iranian women.

Key words: Infertility, Iran, qualitative research, reproductive health, sexual behavior


Infertility; Iran; qualitative research; reproductive health; sexual behavior

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