Religio-cultural perspective of infertility and its treatment: a case study of the Ga people of Ghana

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This study sought to examine the Religio-Cultural Perspective of Infertility and its treatment of the Gã people in Ghana. Qualitative research methodology was used applying the sub-disciplinary methods of depth interviews and focus group discussion to gather information from Traditional Leaders and People living with infertility. The empirical study brought out the fact that, Child birth is of paramount importance to the Gã People within their religio-cultural milieu. This makes infertility a life shattering crisis among the people. In situations where it occurs, it is attributed to a variety of causes. These include the Dzemawodzi (gods), Ayεi (witches), Gbeshi (fate, life programme) and Musu (bad omen). There are a number of rituals which are performed to reverse the situation. Due to the cultural expectation of the marriage arrangement, the whole family tries their best to help their relatives living with infertility. People living with infertility are motivated by a variety of factors including cultural, religious, and innate factors to bring forth at all cost. They are not discriminated against by the religio-cultural structures in their functional roles such as appointment to various positions but society looks down upon such people and stigmatizes them. Infertility affects the woman, the couple, and the families concerned since children are the only means of continuing the ancestral lineage. There are a number of indigenous interventions in the form of rituals and a variety of modern treatment technologies which come into play in the treatment of infertility. All these methods have their own religio-cultural ramifications. Education, counseling, and advocacy services are the surest ways to manage this all important issue of infertility amongst and within the religio-cultural milieu of the Gã People of Ghana.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the Degree of Master of Philosophy in Religious Studies, 2011