Objectives: In many societies, women’s status is determined by their fertility and motherhood, and having reproductive disorders creates additional problems for them. This study investigates the stigmatisation of infertile women and how they cope in a region with the highest fertility rate in Turkey.
Methods: The sample population this descriptive study comprised of infertile women who applied to the infertility clinic of a university hospital in Sanliurfa. In the pilot study conducted with 19 participants, the stigmatisation score was calculated as 86.1 + 35.6. Based on these values, the sample size obtained was 136 with a margin of error of 6 and confidence level of 95%. Data were collected through face-to-face interviews using a data collection form, the Infertility Stigma Scale (ISS), and the COPE inventory (COPE).
Findings: The mean Infertility Stigma Scale (ISS) total score of participants was found to be 87.6±27.9. Considering the maximum ISS score, it was determined that infertile women experienced a high level of stigmatisation. Findings obtained from the COPE inventory showed that participants mostly used problem-focused coping (59.8 ± 7.6) mechanisms to deal with stress due to infertility and preferred active coping, planning and disengagement.
Conclusions: This study shows that socio-demographic and cultural factors affect the level of stigmatisation of infertile women, and the higher the level of stigma, the more difficult it is for infertile women to cope with stress due to infertility.