204948 Barriers to Fertility Regulation for Ghanaian Women

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 11:30 AM

Sirina Keesara, BA , Bixby Center for Population, Health and Sustainability, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Martha Campbell, PhD , University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Background and Methods

In order to understand better the relationship between the barriers to fertility regulation and fertility preference in Ghana, I undertook a qualitative study using semi-structured interviews asking about women's contraceptive use. Using a convenience samsample, I conducted 110 interviews in two locations in Ghana: Accra (southern Ghana) and in Nakpanduri (northern Ghana). Interviews were transcribed, coded, and emergent themes were identified.


According to the Ghanaian 2003 DHS the fear of side effects was the most commonly stated reason that women were not using modern method of contraception (37.3%). The current study's findings support these data: Many women incorrectly believed that contraceptive methods would endanger their long-term fertility. Fear of side effects was more frequently reported in Accra than in Nakpanduri where women felt that their husbands' preferences exerted the strongest influence on their ability to regulate their fertility. In both locations, when asked if they would use family planning if there were no side effects, most women, said yes, even if they had been opposed to contraceptives throughout the course of the interview. The exception was those women who were able to able to negotiate the timing of sexual relations with their partners.


This fieldwork indicates that misinformation is a significant intangible barrier to contraceptive use for these Ghanaian women. This could have important implications for the reduction of unintended pregnancies, when women are able to make informed decisions about the opportunities to regulate their own fertility.

Learning Objectives:
To identify the major barriers to fertility regulation for women in Ghana. To define "fear of side effects," Ghanaian women's most stated for not using contraceptives.

Keywords: Family Planning, Access

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted, transcribed and analyzed all the interviews.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.