Exploring the Experiences of Infertile Arab Immigrant Women: A Qualitative Study
Lyne Jrade, Université D'Ottawa / University Of Ottawa, Université D'Ottawa / University Of Ottawa
Infertility rates in the Middle East and North Africa are among the highest worldwide. Despite its elevated prevalence among men and women, infertility is mainly blamed on women's reproductive health failures. Consequently, infertility threatens women's social and marital security, social power, and status in society. In Canada, the Arab population constitutes the second largest group of newcomers, but very little research has explored Arab immigrant women's experiences with and access to
... hensive reproductive health services. Objectives: This project aimed to fill a gap in the literature on reproductive health in Ontario. This study explored: 1) Arab women's experiences with infertility and infertility-related services in Ontario; 2) the barriers these women face when seeking these services; and 3) possible ways infertility-related information and services could be improved. Methods: This qualitative study consisted of in-depth interviews with Arab immigrant women and interviews with key informants. We used a multi-modal recruitment strategy including social media ads, flyers, advertisements through community organizations, and an Arabic-language radiobroadcast. We analyzed both components for content and themes using deductive and inductive techniques. Results: Participants struggled with primary infertility, mainly due to polycystic ovarian syndrome or endometriosis. Women identified cost, socio-cultural dynamics, stigma, and embarrassment as barriers to seeking treatment. Women described existing services as lacking comprehensive information, cultural sensitivity, and emotional support. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that Arab immigrants face barriers in accessing infertility care in Ontario. These services can be improved through engaging in education and awareness raising efforts, providing psychosocial support services, and building bridges between organizations and the community.