In idah urban community, as in most other parts of the country, procreation is one of the major functions of the family. Every man take a wife apparently to have children with them, where this main purpose for marriage is not forth coming into fulfillment, it is then result to tension in most cases which lead to misunderstanding and disputes in the family. In traditional igala society, many wives try to ensure the procreation of children to its fullest limit.For most of history, childlessness has been regarded as great personal tragedy involving much emotional pain and grief, especially when it is resulted from failure to conceive or from the death of a child (Mail, Charlene, 1986). Before conception was well understood, childlessness was usually blamed on the woman and this in itself added to the high level negative emotional and social effects of childlessness. Some wealthy families also adopted children as a means of providing heirs incase of childlessness or where no son had been born, the monetary incentives offered by westerners desire for children is so strong that a commercial market in the child laundering business exists (McCurry, 2005).In marriage, childlessness is one aspect of the diversity inherent in contemporary experience of marriage and the family. For most of history, childlessness has been regarded as great personal tragedy involving much emotional pain and grief, especially when it is resulted from failure to conceive or from the death of a child. With this greater diversity, once common pressures for childbearing have given way to greater social acceptance of remaining single or married without children. Before conception was well understood, childlessness was usually blamed on the woman and this in itself added to the high level negative emotional and social effects of childlessness. Some wealthy families also adopted children as a means of providing heirs in case of childlessness or where no son had been born, the monetary incentives offered by westerners desire for children is so strong that a commercial market in the child laundering business exists. Nonetheless, childlessness is a concern, partly because of its implications for the maintenance of societies and partly because of its unwanted consequences for individuals. However, societies regard children as the most important asset in every successful marriage and for this reason; childless couples become an object of ridicule in their communities. The dynamics of culture and human relationships have made researchers to observe many influences, manifestations, happenings and occurrences in marriage stability within the Yoruba community. However one of the general cultural beliefs in marriage is that procreation is the basic aim of marriage, for them marriage and procreation are inseparable. However, modernization has not weakened the deep rooted tradition of having a child as soon as possible after marriage. According to Owo (1994), having many children makes one feel contented and important and also usually respected by others for not being childless. Marriage which fail to produce children often end in divorce. It is also describe as the dissolution or abrogation of marriage. Psychologically, Owo (1994) explained that childless couples especially the women are always depressed about their condition; they always feel bad because most of the blames are levied against them. The pains suffered by childless couples attract sympathy.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Throughout the world and particularly in African societies, igala land not exempted, the word “childlessness” se listener and a sense of pity is immediately aroused in the mind. In igala land, children are regarded as great treasure to their parents, relations and their immediate community. Many people suffer from childlessness for so many reasons such as drug abuse, hard drugs effect, contraception, numerous abortions, and genetically inherited sickness and in most cases, psychological problems.
The number of childless couples is tremendously on the increase, this is evident to the fact that attempts to initiate a move which would have been directed towards adoption is taken with serious resistance in some places mostly by couples without even a child. Meanwhile, most couples are childless as a result of the degree of their waywardness while they were youths or younger and unmarried, such as illicit use of drugs in order to avoid pregnancy (Ugwuanyi, 1999).In idah urban community, childlessness is echoed by the fact that most couples are not aware of the prevalence of medical treatment; this therefore makes them not to seek medical assistance for such form of ailment. According to Nwapa (2004), some couples attribute their problem of childlessness to the supernatural, the hope in God that gives children to remember them at the appropriate time while some couples usually fall back to the fact that adoption, they are comforted for being biological infertile, they no longer want to know the cause of their infertility and solve it or get rid of it Hales, (2000).According to Dike (2013), the police have smashed a suspected syndicate whose alleged stock in trade was defrauding desperate barren women through false miracle babies. He also narrated the agony of a 61year old barren woman who travel to port Harcourt to consult miracle workers God was using to bless the barren and make them fruitful, they told her to pay #1.5 million, she paid the money and was given some seed to eat, after eating it, she began to stool. It took about nine months before the miracle
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The major objectives of the study are:
1. To ascertain the causes of childlessness in the family
2. To ascertain the effect of childlessness in the family
3. To ascertain the relationship between childlessness and socio-cultural impact
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;
H0: there are no causes of childlessness in the family
H1: there are causes of childlessness in the family
H02:there are no effects of childlessness in the family
H2:there are effects of childlessness in the family
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of benefit to the married couple. The study will also be of great benefit to the researchers who intends to embark on research on similar topics as it will serve as a guide. Finally, the study will be of great importance to academia’s, lecturers, teachers, students and the general public.
1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study covers childlessness and socio-cultural impact on married couple. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;
a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
c) Organizational privacy: Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
CHILDLESSNES:Childlessness is people - men and women - having no children. Childlessness may have personal, social or political significance
SOCIO-CULTURAL: The term "socio-cultural system" embraces three concepts: society, culture, and system. ... A cultureis the learned behaviors that are shared by the members of a society, together with the material products of such behaviors.
MARRIED COUPLE: Married couple - two people who are married to each other; "his second marriage was happier than the first"; "a married couple without love" man and wife, marriage. Family unit, family - primary social group; parents and children; "he wanted to have a good job before starting a family
1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows
Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study