Perceptions, causes and consequences of infertlity among the Chenchu tribe of India

Guntupalli, A. Meera and Chenchelgudem, P. (2004). Perceptions, causes and consequences of infertlity among the Chenchu tribe of India. Journal of Reproductive and Infant Psychology, 22(4) pp. 249–259.



Infertility has been neglected as both a health and a social problem in India generally and among tribes specifically. Infertility is considered a curse for women, especially in India where the female partner is blamed in almost all cases. This study is based on the Chenchu tribe of the Nallamalai forest area, India. The main objective of this study is to highlight important aspects of infertility, such as perceptions, causes, and treatment-seeking behaviour. The other objective is to show the relation between infertility and inheritance, remarriage, divorce pattern, beliefs and practices. Qualitative techniques such as participant observation, in-depth interviews and unstructured key informant interviews were administered towards the fulfilment of the objectives. Chenchus relate infertility to spirits and dietary habits, and their treatment-seeking behaviour is based on their traditional knowledge of herbs and spiritual beliefs. Umbilical cord consumption is also considered as a remedy for infertility. The actual cause of infertility is related to sexually transmitted diseases, abortions, and adolescent sterility. There is a pressing need for imparting both preventive and curative biomedical care.

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