Let’s talk about Infertility
Let’s talk about Infertility
Key Facts about Infertility
The health challenge of infertility is as old as the human race, with social, emotional and marital consequences. In Nigeria, and arguably a lot of other African countries, inability of a woman to conceive is usually seen as a “problem” with the woman, which is not always correct because it can be a challenge from the man as well.
Ability to procreate brings about a feeling of self worth and a lot of joy to homes. It is important for the physical and mental health of couples.
I will be sharing with you today, the first in a series about the topic of infertility, key facts about infertility.
Infertility is a disease of the male or female reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.1
Infertility affects millions of people of reproductive age worldwide – and has an impact on their families and communities. Estimates suggest that between 48 million couples and 186 million individuals live with infertility globally. 1 In Nigeria, a study finds that 10–30% of couples are affected in Nigeria.2 It is one of the commonest reasons for women to seek gynaecological consultation. Its causes in Nigeria were found to be mainly related to post infectious causes; sexually transmitted infections, post abortal and puerperal sepsis.2
In the male reproductive system, infertility is most commonly caused by problems in the
ejection of semen,
absence or low levels of sperm, or
abnormal shape and movement of the sperm.
In the female reproductive system, infertility may be caused by
a range of abnormalities of the ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, and the hormonal system, among others.
Infertility can be primary or secondary.
Primary infertility is when a pregnancy has never been achieved by a person, and
secondary infertility is when at least one prior pregnancy has been achieved.
When to see a doctor
You probably don't need to see a doctor about infertility unless you have been trying regularly to get pregnant for at least one year. Women should talk with a doctor earlier, however, if they:
Are age 35 or older and have been trying to conceive for six months or longer
Are over age 40
Have irregular or absent periods
Have very painful periods
Have known fertility problems
Have been diagnosed with endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease
Have had multiple miscarriages
Have undergone treatment for cancer
Men should talk to a doctor if they have:
A low sperm count or other problems with sperm
A history of testicular, prostate or sexual problems
Undergone treatment for cancer
Small testicles or swelling in the scrotum
Others in your family with infertility problems
Next in this series, we will be digging deeper into the causes in men and women, as well risks and prevention. This will lead us into diagnosis and treatment afterwards.
WHO Factsheets https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/infertility.
Fertility Research & Practice https://fertilityresearchandpractice.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40738-019-0068-6.