Prevalence of intimate partner violence against infertile women in low-income and middle-income countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Elsevier, The Lancet Global Health, Volume 10, June 2022
Wang Y., Fu Y., Ghazi P., Gao Q., Tian T., Kong F. et al.
Background: Infertility and intimate partner violence (IPV) are of serious concern globally, yet the prevalence of IPV against infertile women has not been quantified at the regional or global level. We aimed to estimate the prevalence of IPV against infertile women and its variation in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). Methods: We did a systematic literature search of 11 databases for articles published between database inception and Sept 30, 2021, and performed meta-analyses to estimate the pooled prevalence and 95% CI of IPV against infertile women in LMICs. We used subgroup analyses and meta-regressions to explore variation in the prevalence by study period (2010 and before vs after 2010), study region (Africa, west Asia, south Asia, and east Asia), type of infertility (primary or secondary), risk of bias (high, moderate, or low), sample size (continuous variable), and measuring tools (the modified Abuse Assessment Screen, the WHO Violence Against Women instrument, or the revised Conflict Tactics Scales). This study is registered with PROSPERO, CRD42021248448. Findings: Of 2661 references identified (2637 via database searches and 24 via secondary searches), 120 full-text articles were reviewed, and we identified 30 relevant studies conducted in nine LMICs between 2000 and 2019. 25 studies met the inclusion criteria for meta-analysis, with a total sample size of 7164 participants. The 12-month prevalence of IPV among infertile women was 36·0% (95% CI 20·4–55·2), compared with a lifetime prevalence of 47·2% (31·7–63·3). The most common type of IPV was psychological violence, with a prevalence of 24·6% (11·3–45·6) over 12 months and 51·5% (38·8–64·0) over a lifetime (slightly higher than the pooled overall rate due to different data sources), respectively; followed by physical violence (11·9% [5·2–25·1] and 20·2% [12·1–31·7]); sexual violence (8·7% [2·6–25·0] and 11·5% [6·1–20·7]); and economic coercion (2·6% [0·4–13·7] and 9·8% [5·7–16·5]). Significant variations of lifetime prevalence estimates were presented by study period (R2=39·46%), region (R2=50·95%), and measuring tools (R2=54·27%). Interpretation: A high prevalence of IPV against infertile women is evident despite heterogeneity across studies. IPV screening, counselling, and structural interventions should be tailored to address this urgent issue at multiple levels of society. Funding: China Medical Board and WHO.