Medfem’s Message on World Fertility Day

2 November 2023

World Fertility Day is an annual awareness day observed worldwide to raise awareness around fertility issues, and to inform and inspire the almost 50 million couples – and those who support them – across countries and cultures who experience fertility challenges.

At Medfem Fertility Clinic, we proudly contribute our message on World Fertility Day to raise awareness of the treatments that are available for those who face fertility challenges, and to empower people with fertility knowledge so they are able to make informed decisions on their journey to parenthood.

Given how important fertility is to us as humans – and how common it is for couples to experience fertility challenges – it is deeply concerning how little awareness exists about fertility and the issues that affect it.

Experiencing challenges with their fertility and not being able to fall pregnant is often devastating to a couple. And yet it is far more common than most people realise! Currently, an estimated one in six couples worldwide – or 50 million people – are unable to fall pregnant naturally within a year of trying. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has calculated that over 10% of women are afflicted – women who have tried unsuccessfully to fall pregnant, and have remained in a stable relationship for five years or more. Men are afflicted equally.

Sadly, because of the general lack of awareness, many couples do not know that fertility challenges are most often caused by medical conditions in one or both partners, which can be treated. This creates a false sense of shame, taboo or embarrassment about their fertility challenges, so many couples shy away from or simply avoid telling even their families or closest friends – or even their doctors – about their situation.

“[World Fertility Day] is a day for everyone worldwide to rekindle their hope for the future and raise awareness of this issue that affects millions of people worldwide,” says Louise Joy Brown – the first of the 8 million IVF babies born in the world since her birth on 25 July 1978. “That is why I am pleased to support World Fertility Day, as it is aimed at getting people talking. People can learn from each other’s experiences, encourage each other, spread hope and – with the help of the many experts and specialists also taking part – get answers to questions they have.”

At Medfem Fertility Clinic we are passionate about raising awareness of fertility issues and sharing information that can empower and enable men and women to make strategic life choices relating to their fertility and reproductive health.

Three crucial fertility facts

We highlight three crucial fertility facts that every person should know – whether they are experiencing fertility challenges or supporting family members or friends who are struggling with infertility.

1. Fertility challenges are most often caused by a medical condition – in either the male or female partner, but likely in both – and these medical conditions can be very successfully treated.

2. It is crucial for more people to realise the negative impact on fertility and reproductive health of obesity and being overweight, as well as poor lifestyle choices, all of which are preventable.

3. There are ways even for cancer patients facing cancer treatment or other medical treatments to protect their future fertility.

1. Fertility challenges can be treated

The WHO defines infertility as a “disease of the reproductive system” that results in disability.

Unfortunately, it is not common knowledge. Not many people know that infertility is a medical condition affecting the reproductive system in either the female or the male partner, and in many cases, both the male and the female partner. It is also not commonly known that these medical conditions can be treated successfully in most cases.

Fortunately, the field of reproductive medicine has advanced rapidly, with treatments and success stories that have resolved infertility and fertility problems – from the most simple fertility awareness methods to more advanced innovations, such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

Originally developed for women with damaged or missing fallopian tubes, IVF is now also used for a variety of other infertility problems, particularly for male factor problems, endometriosis and advanced maternal age.

ICSI was first used in Belgium in the 1990s. This revolutionary fertilisation technique bypasses several steps in the early fertilisation process and circumvents any potential problems the sperm may have in getting inside the egg, maximising the chance of fertilisation taking place and delivering excellent fertilisation rates. Today, half a million babies are born each year globally thanks to IVF with ICSI treatment.

In addition to these highly advanced treatments, there are also many simple, cost effective treatments, such as hormone medication and in uterine insemination or IUI.

2. Health and lifestyle choices affect fertility

Among the many medical conditions that can cause fertility challenges are a number of common chronic health conditions, including high levels of insulin (hyperinsulinemia) or prolactin (hyperprolactinemia), as well as thyroid disease (hypothyroidism) and endometriosis.

In many cases, fertility challenges are also caused by poor health and bad lifestyle choices that negatively impact overall well-being. For example, various lifestyle-related factors such as obesity, smoking, substance abuse, heavy alcohol consumption and chronic stress are known to have a negative impact on both male and female fertility and the success of fertility treatments.

3. Cancer patients can protect their future fertility

One out of four people will be affected by cancer in their lifetime in South Africa, according to CANSA. This frightening disease exacts an immense toll on patients, including – in many cases – the loss of fertility after treatment.

Fortunately, advances in both fertility preservation and infertility treatments present viable options for cancer patients.

Options available to women before cancer treatment includes embryo freezing, egg freezing and ovarian tissue freezing. To preserve male fertility before cancer treatment, a highly effective technique called sperm cryopreservation or freezing is used.

Many cancer patients do not have time to safeguard their fertility before undergoing chemotherapy, radiation or surgery. However, even if you have already undergone cancer treatment, there is still hope of having a family.

For example, IVF treatment with egg donation is one option for women who cannot use their own eggs after cancer treatment. Similarly, because ICSI ensures only a few normal sperm are needed for conception, even men who are completely sterile have chance to have their own child.

Cancer survivors can also investigate surrogacy or adoption as possible ways to build a family after cancer.

Want to know more about fertility?

If you are concerned about your fertility, we would like to invite you to contact us at Medfem Fertility Clinic. Our team believes in making world-class fertility treatments available for everyone. It is our joy and commitment to give you a positive outcome to your fertility journey, so you will have a fond memory of feeling empathy, caring and being part of the Medfem Fertility Clinic family.

If you would like to meet one of our fertility specialists, simply click here to book an initial consultation or contact us telephonically on +27 (11) 463 2244.

Our Fertility Specialists can also meet with You During a Virtual Consultation Via Zoom or Skype. Click here to book a virtual consultation now.

We look forward to meeting you at Medfem Fertility Clinic!



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