Infertility: A Scourge in our Face
Nearly 50% of gynaecologic outpatient consultations in the country today are infertility related. Many homes continue to experience the agony of childlessness and the accompanying turbulence in some cases in a country where infertility is fast becoming a plague. While some couples enjoy the privilege of becoming parents within a year or two of getting married, the same is not the case for many who continue to hope they will one day experience the joy of parenthood.
Infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant despite having frequent, regular (up to 3 times in a week) unprotected sex for at least a year. The prevalence of infertility in Nigeria is put at between 20 and 25 percent among married couples according to latest qualified estimates.
Infertility may be due to a single cause in either you or your partner, or a combination of factors that may prevent a pregnancy from occurring or continuing. Fortunately, there are many safe and effective therapies for overcoming infertility. These treatments significantly improve the chances of becoming pregnant.
As the plague continues to stare many couples in the face, we doctors believe it is very important to seek early counselling and possible intervention to help tackle the problem.
The frequency of infertility depends on the age of the woman and the couple’s general health and life style.
The methods within infertility treatment have improved immensely throughout the latest 20 years. Today, we therefore have a great knowledge of the causes of infertility and the possibilities of treatment.
As, earlier noted, the causes of infertility can more or less be divided into 3 equal parts. A female part, a male part and a third unexplained part.
The main sign of infertility is the inability for a couple to get pregnant. There may be no other obvious symptoms.
In some cases, an infertile woman may have irregular or absent menstrual periods. An infertile man may have signs of hormonal problems, such as changes in hair growth, sexual function, reduced sexual desire, or problems with ejaculation. He may also have small testicles or a swelling in the scrotum.
When to see a doctor
In general, you may consider seeing a doctor about infertility if you and your partner have been trying regularly to conceive for at least one year. You may consider being seen earlier if you're a woman and:
- You're age 35 to 40 and have been trying to conceive for six months or longer
- You're over age 40
- You menstruate irregularly or not at all
- You have known fertility problems
- You've been diagnosed with endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease
- You've had more than one miscarriage
- You've had prior cancer treatmen
If you're a man, you may wish to be evaluated sooner if you have:
- A low sperm count or other problems with sperm
- Swelling in the scrotum (see 'varicocele' below)
- You have had a previous vasectomy
- Undergone prior scrotal or inguinal surgery
- Small testicles or problems with sexual function or desire
- Had prior cancer cancer treatment
- Desire to know your fertility status.
To be Continued......
Refs: Mayo Clinic (U.S), Nordica Fertility Centre (Lagos,Nigeria)