ʽCryptic pregnancyʼ, a term misleadingly used in Nigeria to describe false pregnancy by fraudulent individuals is becoming a phenomenon. Some women with infertility are manipulated by unscrupulous midwives who deceive them with a pseudo-pregnancy and extort them financially. At ʽfull-termʼ, during the often stage-managed delivery, they are usually handed a baby that is criminally gotten from a ʽbaby factoryʼ. Sometimes, these women are complicit to this nefarious act in order to deceive their husbands and / or douse onto them the pressure from family or society. This paper interrogates this phenomenon in Nigeria, showing the shortcomings by government and religion. The qualitative study applies descriptive research design and draws insight from interviews, observation, and literature. Data is analyzed using the content analysis research technique. An inquiry into the causes and effects of this phenomenon in Nigeria, among others, uncovers the inability of the Nigerian government to keep accurate vital birth statistics. Hence, the existence of baby factories. Besides, the prevailing harsh economic reality in the nation also predisposes the girls / women who constitute a source of babies for these ʽfactoriesʼ. They are neither in school nor meaningfully engaged in society. Religion, which is also largely (mis)used in Nigeria to disregard reason and valorize strange phenomena, paves the way for such ridiculous beliefs like a simulated pregnancy that defies science. Cryptic pregnancy in Nigeria has cultural, social and religious consequences. This paper, therefore, proposes that Nigerian civil society and government should mount a massive campaign against the deception called ʽcryptic pregnancyʼ.
Keywords: Cryptic Pregnancy, Religion, Baby Factory, Motherhood, Motherism.