- World Fertility Day, November 2.
The observance of The World Fertility Day raises awareness of the difficulties many people face in having biological children and the medical advances that help many others accomplish their desire to be parents.
According to the WHO, 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.” It has significant negative social impacts on the lives of couples, making it a major health issue that needs to be addressed. Yet, equal and equitable access to fertility care remains a challenge in most countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and other LMIC countries.
As we join the rest of the world in celebrating this day, we hope to spread hope and to let people facing the challenge of infertility know that they are not alone.
The theme of our World Fertility Day event this year is WORK SMART!
A lot of times, couples trying to conceive repeatedly say they are trying their best. They say they are working hard to achieve pregnancy. This year, we want to say STOP!!!
Take a minute to stop. Let’s stop trying. Let’s stop working hard. Let us WORK SMART! Working smart involves tackling the situation INTELLIGENTLY. There is a reason pregnancy has not taken place. Finding the reason and working on tailored solutions for the particular case is the best way to solve the problem.
Don’t take drugs because they were mentioned to assist with conception. Don’t just run tests on your own because someone mentioned them. These days, there is no money to waste. Tailor your funds towards relevant investigations and treatment properly prescribed by your medical team or fertility counsellor. Work on finding out what YOU need to come out successfully on the Fertility journey.
WHY IS THERE A WORLD FERTILITY DAY?
Globally, 48.5 million couples experience infertility. A survey has established that at least 25 percent of couples face problems with fertility at some point and avoid talking to a doctor about it.
This year’s World Fertility Day November 2nd takes place with the goal to raise awareness around infertility, dispel common misconceptions, educate those affected, and equip those supporting friends and relatives who are affected with infertility
Couples who have fertility challenges are not alone, and it’s important that if you are struggling with infertility, you know there is support out there. There is sometimes no explicit one cause for infertility. This year’s theme, WORK SMART, aims at sensitising those involved to open their minds to all the possibilities available to them…
IS INFERTILITY TREATABLE?
Infertility can be such a devastating condition that leaves those facing it somewhat confused, helpless and hopeless. But is the condition treatable? The answer is YES!
In about 80% of all cases of Infertility, basic medical treatment can reverse the situation after proper diagnosis and investigations. Surgery is an option when there is a physiological issue and fertility medicines (e.g hormonal drugs, supplements, etc) can stimulate egg production for ovarian disorders if that is the issue, as well as increase testicular function to boost sperm count in situations where it is necessary.
There are also some lifestyle changes a person can make that will contribute to the likelihood of fertilization and pregnancy, including weight loss, reducing or stopping alcohol, exercises, or smoking cessation.
Other methods to consider include intrauterine insemination (IUI), a procedure whereby sperm is placed inside a person’s uterus to facilitate fertilization. Assisted reproductive technology such as in-vitro fertilization is another option available to those wishing to start a family. Other methods for tackling the Fertility challenge are surrogacy and Adoption. Any means a person chooses, it is now very feasible for a couple to fulfil their desires of having a baby.
It is always best to work with your healthcare provider on the most suitable course of action for you.
HOW IS INFERTILITY DIAGNOSED?
We have made it clear that infertility can arise from numerous causes. To determine the cause for a particular couple, proper investigations must be carried out.
Often, when people start to try to get pregnant, they realize that despite unprotected sex, they are unable to conceive. They’re typically told to try for a solid year of unprotected intimate relations and try to time these occurrences appropriately and around the ovulation part of the menstrual cycle. Usually, women above the age of 35 are only expected to try for 6 months before some investigation work is carried out to determine the reason for the apparent infertility.
Tests like Hormonal blood assays, ultrasound sonography, ovarian testing, Seminal analysis, infection screening and imaging procedures are some of the steps that follow to try to determine where the *dysfunction* lies.
These procedures can be invasive but are not typically painful. These investigations should be ordered by a clinician after proper history taking and investigations, and should never be self prescribed. Doing the right investigations and getting the correct diagnosis is a very vital and crucial step for overcoming Fertility challenges. This is working smart!
Don’t be in a hurry to do anything. WORK SMART to achieve best results.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON INFERTILITY FACTORS?
We have said that it is important to WORK SMART on the Fertility journey, and to do that, we ought to know what the possible challenges are. What then are the most common infertility factors?
The most common infertility factors in people with a male reproductive system are:
▫️Sperm disorders including production quantity, quality, and motility
The most common infertility factors in people with a female reproductive system are:
▫️Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
▫️Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI)
▫️Interstitial cystitis (IC)
▫️Infection like HIV, gonorrhea and chlamydia
Sometimes, there is no specific cause as both members of the couple could be fertile, but when matching the sperm and egg together, it simply does not take.
Try not to blame one another but show love and understanding for each other as you go through this troubling time. Don’t be afraid to seek support from your healthcare team. There are a lot of resources available to you.