Must-Share Fertility Facts during World Infertility Awareness Month
Around the globe in the month of June, infertility comes under the spotlight as individuals, organisations, fertility specialists and fertility clinics join together to raise awareness of this widespread medical challenge that millions of couples face.
In this article, we find out more about World Infertility Awareness Month, look at five must-know facts about infertility around which more awareness is crucial, and find out what you need to do if you are concerned about your fertility.
About World Infertility Awareness Month
Every year in June, infertility – and the immense challenges it presents – come under the international spotlight, as individuals and organisations around the world endeavour to raise awareness of this medical condition that afflicts so many people across the globe.
In the US, for example, the infertility awareness is driven by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association – you can find out more at infertilityawareness.org.
Here in South Africa, awareness of infertility is advocated by IFAASA, the Infertility Awareness Association of South Africa. Established in 2013, IFAASA is a non-profit organisation with the aim of supporting Southern Africans living with reproductive health issues through education, research and advocacy, and to educate the public about reproductive disease.
IFAASA is driven by a team of South Africans who are passionate to build awareness and support of infertility. Through their own experiences with infertility, they have come to realise that even though there are support structures in place, there is a need for information, education and advocacy, both within the community and in the general public.
IFAASA notes that the general public, numerous medical practitioners and many couples who are infertile are unacquainted with and ignorant of the incredible journey infertile couples follow to achieve their families. IFAASA aims to drive public and industry awareness and understanding of infertility, and to lobby for fair support and change and equal access to public and private sector treatment. IFAASA shares resources that will offer hope, insight, support and encouragement. Find out more about IFAASA at ifaasa.co.za.
Medfem Fertility Clinic is a proud to be a supporter of IFAASA and pleased that our own Dr Antonio Rodrigues, a Reproductive Medicine Specialist and Director at Medfem Fertility Clinic, serves as a Non Executive Board Member of IFAASA. Our team goes to great lengths to contribute to raising awareness of many misconceptions that exist around fertility.
Five Fertility Facts to Raise Awareness Of
Here are five facts about infertility from the World Health Organisation (WHO) that not many people are aware of. You can read more at https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/infertility.
1. Infertility is a medical condition
Infertility is a disease that results in the abnormal functioning of the male or female reproductive system, according to the WHO, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
Infertility is defined as the failure to achieve a pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.
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 (morphology) and movement (motility) 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 endocrine system, among others.
2. Infertility affects many couples
Infertility and subfertility affect a significant proportion of humanity. Estimates suggest that between 48 million couples and 186 million individuals live with infertility globally.
In South Africa, as many as one in six couples face infertility and require assistance to achieve a pregnancy.
The overall burden of subfertility/infertility is significant, likely underestimated, and has not displayed any decrease over the last 20 years.
3. Infertility has a massive impact on people
As a disease of the reproductive system, infertility results in disability.
In fact, infertility often creates one of the most distressing life crises that a couple has ever experienced together, and it also has an impact on their families and communities.
The long-term inability to conceive a child can evoke significant feelings of loss. Every human being has a right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. Individuals and couples have the right to decide the number, timing and spacing of their children. Infertility can negate the realisation of these essential human rights. Addressing infertility is therefore an important part of realizing the right of individuals and couples to have a family.
In addition, infertility can lead to shame, stigma, anxiety, depression, low feelings of self-esteem and guilt. High rates of clinically significant symptoms of depression and anxiety, suicidal tendencies, and a strong conceptualization of grief affects infertile individuals.
Furthermore, coping with the multitude of medical decisions and the uncertainties that infertility brings can create great emotional upheaval for most couples.
4. Infertility affects men and women equally
Infertility is not a “female” problem. It affects men and women equally.
In fact, according to the American Society For Reproductive Medicine, approximately one-third of infertility is attributed to the female partner, one-third attributed to the male partner and one-third is caused by a combination of problems in both partners or, is unexplained.
5. There are many excellent treatments for infertility
Fertility care encompasses the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of infertility.
The field of reproductive medicine and endocrinology is rapidly growing, with success stories that have resolved infertility and fertility problems – from the simplest fertility awareness methods to more advanced innovations.
Therapies and treatments can also be utilized to avoid hereditary disease in offspring, to address male factors, to decrease STI/HIV transmission, to address the trend in desired older-aged parenthood, or to aid those who face cancer therapies that jeopardise their reproductive potential.
Are you concerned about your fertility?
At Medfem Fertlity Clinic, we believe that anyone concerned about their fertility should take immediate steps to have their situation assessed.
Immediate evaluation and treatment of infertility is crucial in cases of known problems such as anovulation, tubal occlusion (blocked fallopian tubes) and severe male factor infertility.
We also believe that it is important to be proactive in evaluating and treating women who are 40 years of age and older because of their increased potential for significant loss of ovarian reserve in this age group.
If you have been trying to conceive for at least one year (or at least six months if you are older than 35), it’s also time to seek help from an expert. There is always a reason why you have not been able to conceive – in fact, in 25% of couples, there is more than one factor contributing to infertility.
It’s just a matter of finding out what treatment or assistance you require to fall pregnant. You can do this by meeting one of our fertility specialists at Medfem Fertility Clinic. Simply click here to book an initial consultation or contact us telephonically on +27 (11) 463 2244.
At Medfem we believe in helping you reach your family dream through:
* World-Class Fertility for Everyone – we believe in making world-class fertility treatments available for everyone
* A Positive Fertility Journey – It is our joy and commitment to give you a positive outcome to your fertility journey
* Delivered With Empathy & Caring – So you may have a fond memory, of a feeling of empathy, caring and being part of the Medfem family
We look forward to meeting you at Medfem Fertility Clinic!