Having a child is important among married women in Calabar. Among married women, infertility is the main factor causing childlessness. Child adoption provides an alternative for married women to have children. Thus, the purpose of the study was to explore the perceived barriers of child adoption among women with infertility. The objective is to assess the knowledge, attitude and practice of women of reproductive age towards child adoption in Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria. The study used an exploratory qualitative and quantitative approach to understand the knowledge, attitude and practices towards possible child adoption in the study area. The study was conducted among 200 women attending fertility clinic in General hospital, Calabar in Cross River state. Semi structured interview questionnaire was administeredto 200 consecutive infertile female patients (between February and September,2018) at the General Hospital Calabar who agreed to participate in the study after counseling. Participants were purposively recruited and data collected by individual face-to-face in-depth interviews. The data generated was analyzed by simple percentages, descriptive statistics and simple correlation analysis at 5% probability level. Knowledge of child adoption was relatively very high (92.6%) but out of which only 2.0% of the respondents had adopted a child while 34.5% were willing to adopt in the near future if their condition of childlessness persist.T he correlation coefficient for child adoption was significantly higher, positive and strong in patients are childless and who had suffered infertility for more than 6 years (r=0.92, P<0.001), those with secondary/ tertiary education (r=0.90, P<0.001) and in those with no living child (r=0.89, P<0.001) compared to the non-significant correlation coefficient of those whose aim of adoption was to satisfy their need for domestic chores (r – 0.21;P>0.001) and those whose need a child for errand (r –0.32; P>0.001).Majority of the respondents(77.3%) were not willing to adopt a child and their main reason was that child adoption would not allow them fulfill their conception role as women in addition to the long procedures involve in child adoption. Knowledge of child adoption was high among the respondents but the willingness to adopt a child was low due to the fact that it would not allow them fulfill their conception role as women. There is need to educate and encourageour infertile patients to utilize this cheaper and available option of managinginfertility.There is also the need for public education and special counselling session for husbands and other family members on child adoption as an alternative solution for infertility and childlessness. The success of marriages has largely been premeditated on child bearing in most African society and oftentimes women are at the receiving end of childlessness with possible psychological and physical trauma.
Keywords: Calabar, Cross River State, Knowledge, Women, attitude, child adoption, practice