Views on Child Adoption among Omani Women with Infertility: A Qualitative Study

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Hana AL Sumri , Lisa Szatkowski , Linda Fiaschi , Manpreet Bains


Research on views about child adoption in the Islamic and Arabic countries is limited. This study explored perceptions of child adoption among Omani women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and infertility. Semi-structured, face-to-face interviews were conducted with 20 Omani women diagnosed with PCOS and infertility across two fertility clinics, in Muscat-Oman. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using the framework approach. The average age of women was 28 years old with an average of 4 years of infertility treatment. Participants shared that adoption is uncommon and not considered a societal norm in Oman and thus taking this step would affirm a couple’s sterility. Participants perceived that adoption is prohibited in Islam and is socially rejected for reasons related to whom these children are or where they originate from. Despite this, participants appeared to be more open to the notion of adoption. However, they expressed concerns about lacking in affection due to them not being biological offspring. Women also felt that they would be responsible for exposing children to unfavourable situations especially in the future where they most often will be discriminated socially, due to negative cultural perceptions about adoption. Many women with infertility are willing to adopt children despite the many concerns related to the origin of these children and the emotional and social challenges of their upbringing. Efforts of community adoption advocates and Islamic scholars should be combined in an attempt to normalize the notion of adoption in the society. 

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