Nature: The frustration and sorrow of a couple who want but are unable to produce children may cause the marriage to break down, or may cause emotional disturbance (possibly manifested by baby-snatching). If the couple is not considered suitable as adoptive or foster parents by adoption authorities, they could remain childless. Traditionally childless couples are considered afflicted and may be even sinful, and the fear of childlessness in tribal society is the basis for polygamy; where polygamy has been erased in such communities by 'Western' culture, childlessness causes reversion to tradition; couples without a male child or with only one male child may be considered childless in such a setting. Although the inability to have a desired child is very painful for men as well as for women, the situation has graver consequences for the woman. In traditional societies, a woman who cannot bear children is denied the social identity of her sex, and in some cases may become an outcast.
Problem Type: D: Detailed problems
Date of last update 01.05.2000 – 00:00 CEST