A systematic review and narrative report of the relationship between infertility, subfertility, and intimate partner violence

Document Type



Obstetrics and Gynaecology (East Africa)


Background: Infertility/subfertility could be a formerly unrecognized risk factor for intimate partner violence (IPV).

Objectives: To review the evidence on the association between infertility/subfertility in women and the risk of IPV.

Search Strategy: Seven databases were searched for articles published in English or Spanish between January 2000 and July 2015.

Selection Criteria: Studies were included if they analyzed the relationship between infertility/subfertility and IPV in a quantitative manner.

Data Collection and Analysis: A systematic search was completed by one author, and articles meeting the inclusion/exclusion criteria were chosen by two authors. It was not possible to pool the data because of heterogeneity in the study design, the methods, and the definitions of IPV and infertility/subfertility found across the studies. Instead, a narrative report was completed.

Main Results: Twenty-one papers met the inclusion/exclusion criteria. The available evidence indicated that infertility/subfertility is associated with IPV in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Conclusions: Infertility/subfertility is associated with an increased risk of experiencing IPV in LMICs. Future research should focus on studies with a homogenous design, rigorous methodology, and appropriately selected study and control groups. Qualitative research would also be invaluable to assess the impact of relevant social variables on outcomes.

Publication (Name of Journal)

International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics