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Infertility as defined by the Dictionary of Psychology is “An inability to produce offspring. A diminished capacity or less than normal ability to produce offspring. Infertility is typically used for conditions which are temporary or reversible. Sterility is preferred for those diagnosed to be permanent or difficult to reverse”. Whether individuals experience infertility or sterility the impact is more or less the same, although with sterility there may be a greater loss of hope.


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So many women and couples have a dream of falling pregnant. For some this dream becomes a reality, not once, but many a time. For others, sadly this is not the case as there are factors that hinder this process and make falling pregnant very difficult. This creates many physical and emotional challenges for the individuals involved.


This article serves to explain the above and also the factors to take into consideration when faced with such a scenario or when dealing with people who are faced with this difficulty.


Below are the details on cause and solutions of infertility to help one cope with infertility from professional and personal experience.



In very general medical terms (as this is an article more of a psychological nature) there can be various reasons for infertility,  namely :

  • Female deficits with regards to the uterus, ovaries, eggs, etc.
  • Problems with regards to previous pregnancies and childbirth.
  • Male deficits with regards to sperm count and sperm strength.
  • Age
  • Genetic problems in family history
  • Stress

Sometimes, there is no sound medical reason and some couples are just not able to conceive.


Psychological Impact of Infertility

Individuals who are unable to conceive for whatever reason undergo various difficulties. Society, sometimes compounds this as there are many inquisitive people out there that feel that it is their business to know why people are unable to have children and are ever ready to give advice as to why they are unable to conceive.


Some of the emotions and difficulties associated with infertility include

  • Despondency
  • Feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness.
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Guilt (this is especially evident for the individual in the relationship that may be presenting with the medical condition that is preventing pregnancy)
  • Anger (at doctors, oneself)
  • Feelings of isolation
  • Depression
  • Financial strain (couples will try many avenues in trying to address the problem which results in substantial expense)
  • Marital / relationship problems (tensions run high between individuals in a relationship, blame shifting can occur and often if there is no understanding a marriage may desolve due to not being able to have a child)


Psychological Disorders associated with above Feelings

If the above goes unnoticed, is taken for granted or is not treated professionally, they may give rise to :

  • Mood Disorders (Depression, Mania)
  • Risk behaviours or suicidality
  • Anxiety Disorders (Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)
  • Adjustment Disorder
  • Grief



Identify that there is a problem and it makes an effect on you, your partner or both.


Do not be afraid to discuss the problem and how it makes you feel with each other.


Educate yourself on the problem through books, magazines, internet and so forth. The more you know about a situation the more you open up to the possibilities out there to solving it. This also creates an awareness of others around you that may be going through similar circumstances.


Talk to close family or friends about it, only if you know they are going to be a source of comfort and not criticism which will make the situation worse.


Seek medical help (gynae, fertility specialist)


Seek authentic spiritual help (through Quran and Sunnah)


Seek emotional help if need arises, especially if any of the factors outlined above are evident (psychologist, psychiatrists, infertility groups)


Infertility Clinics (although these have helped many, depending on ones religious orientation, one should be weary or mindful about what is going to occur here. Before commencing treatment, gather as much information as possible).


Implement changes in lifestyle (less stress, more exercise, healthy eating habits, eliminating bad habits such smoking or drinking)


Try not to allow the infertility to become the focus of your life. Many couples have reported that once they accepted the problem and decided to move forward from it, is exactly when they have fallen pregnant. Find other avenues or hobbies in life to redirect your thoughts.


If someone around you is experiencing the problem falling pregnant and you are not sure what to say to this person, rather not say anything. As human beings we are often under the conception that we have to say something to make the person feel better. However, all a person expects is, you to listen to him. If you do feel you need to say anything, rather it be in the form of encouragement and support and not criticism.


If you have a baby and do not know how to deal with a close a friend or family who cannot have a baby, take your cue in dealing with this person from the person himself – if the person finds it difficult to be around you and your child, respect his decision and do not force the issue – if the person wants to spend more time with your child, indulge or entertain this as it may be a source of comfort to him / her.


If you and your spouse experience difficulty in being around people who have babies there are few things you need to consider:


Realize that your feelings (jealousy, anger, etc.) are normal – do not feel guilty about them.


Accept these feelings but also come to a realization that you may have to accept the infertility as well – acceptance of any problem is the key to moving on from it.


If it is close family or friends and you feel comfortable enough, discuss how you feel with the people involved.


Islamic Prescriptions for Infertility

Allah says in the glorious Quraan : To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth; He creates what he wills. He gives to whom He wills female [children], and He gives to whom He wills males. Or He makes them [both] males and females, and He renders whom He wills barren. Indeed, He is Knowing and Competent. Quran Surah Shuraa 42:49-50


From the above it is quite evident that as Muslims we should place our faith solely in our creator and trust that He knows what He does in not giving us offspring. However, in doing so one should not forget the mercy of our Creator and never stop asking what it is we desire. It has been said that Allah tests those that He loves and if we forget Him in our time of need, surely we fail the test. Also by asking, we place ourselves closer and closer to Him. So no matter how futile it may seem, never stop asking Allah the Almighty God.  [1]


Dua for offspring

At that, Zechariah called upon his Lord, saying, "My Lord, grant me from Yourself a good offspring. Indeed, You are the Hearer of supplication."

رَبِّ هَبْ لِي مِن لَّدُنكَ ذُرِّيَّةً طَيِّبَةً ۖ إِنَّكَ سَمِيعُ الدُّعَاءِ

Quran Surah Al’e Imran 3:38


And those who say, "Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes and make us an example for the righteous."

رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَاجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّاتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْيُنٍ وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا

Quran Surah Furqan 25:74


My Lord, "grant me [a child] from among the righteous."

رَبِّ هَبْ لِي مِنَ الصَّالِحِينَ

Quran Surah Furqan 25:74


… give me from Yourself an heir

فَهَبْ لِي مِن لَّدُنكَ وَلِيًّا

Quran Surah Maryam 19:5


Seeking much forgiveness

And said, 'Ask forgiveness of your Lord. Indeed, He is ever a Perpetual Forgiver. He will send [rain from] the sky upon you in [continuing] showers. And give you increase in wealth and children and provide for you gardens and provide for you rivers. Quran Surah Nuh 71:9-12  [2]


Scholars view

Shaykh ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Jibreen said:

It is permissible for a man to treat himself with permissible medicines which may have an effect on diseases he is suffering, whether the problem is infertility or something else, if there is the hope that these medicines will have a beneficial effect and will not cause much harm to the body. [3]



Ma’qil ibn Yasaar said: A man came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and said, “I have found a woman who is of good lineage and is beautiful, but she cannot have children. Should I marry her?” He said, “No.” Then he came again with the same question and he told him not to marry her. Then he came a third time with the same question and he said: “Marry those who are loving and fertile, for I will be proud of your great numbers before the other nations.” Abu Dawood 2050, Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Irwa’ al-Ghaleel, 1784


This hadeeth indicates that it is encouraged to marry women who are fertile, so that the numbers of the ummah will increase, and so the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) will feel proud of his ummah before all other nations. This shows that it is encouraged to have a lot of children. [4]


See also

Pregnancy ; Children; New born; Baby names; Aqeeqah; Tahneek; Women in Islam;







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