Two Crucial Fertility Facts Highlighted In Reproductive Health Awareness Month


The month of February is Reproductive Health Awareness Month in South Africa, and the Medfem team is proud to add our voices to raise awareness of reproductive health, the medical conditions and other factors that could result in poor reproductive health, and the many advanced treatments available today to treat reproductive health problems.

During an interview on about Reproductive Health Awareness Month and its message, which you can listen to here, Dr Nicholas Clark, Reproductive Medicine Specialist and Director at Medfem Fertility Clinic shared some insights about reproductive health.

Dr Clark notes that Reproductive Health Awareness Month is a campaign to increase people’s awareness of reproductive health and fertility in general. It is a broad subject, covering everything from family planning and contraception, to fertility and reproduction, to safe and healthy pregnancy and childbirth, and even to fertility preservation for those whose future fertility is at risk due to, for example, cancer treatments.

He emphasised two issues in particular: firstly, that reproductive health is a matter of concern for both men and women and, secondly, that many reproductive health issues are a result of poor lifestyle choices.

Medfem Fertility Clinic’s focus is on reproductive health, and on the reproductive medicine and treatment options available for those couples who are struggling to conceive.

From decades of experience at Medfem Fertility Clinic in assisting couples to have a child, it is clear that reproductive health problems affect both men and women, and that – in both men and women – their general health and wellbeing, as well as their lifestyle choices, have a significant impact on their reproductive health.

It is often alarming to realise how few people are generally aware of these basic facts about reproductive health, especially because these are really important issues that should be taught or highlighted early in life as part of normal biological education. But, sadly, it is not, resulting in surprisingly many couples today struggling with infertility which is often related to health and lifestyle issues in either or both the male and the female partner.

Reproductive health problems affect both men and women

It is often and incorrectly assumed that reproductive health problems are centred around women. The truth of the matter is that reproductive health is both a male and female concern.

A couple’s fertility challenge is equally likely to be a problem with the male partner’s reproductive health as it is to be with the female partner’s. In fact, in one third of infertility cases treated, the reproductive health problem stems from the male partner. In another one third of infertility cases, the reproductive health problem stems from the female partner. In the final third of infertility cases, the reproductive health problems stem from both the male and female partner.

Infertility is often and incorrectly assumed to be a factor of the female partner’s reproductive health, because of the fact that women face an additional fertility challenge. Unlike men who produce sperm throughout their life, women are born with all their eggs, and the quantity and quality of these eggs diminishes over time – but starts to decline rapidly from the surprisingly young age of just 35.

With many women in South Africa and around the world delaying starting a family and having their first child much later than in previous generations, it is true that poor egg quality is often a factor in a couple’s fertility challenges.

This certainly does not imply that infertility is a female problem, or that poor egg quality is the only fertility challenge a couple faces. There are also various other factors, such as genetic factors and environmental factors, that can impact egg quality as well as the general reproductive health of both partners.

If you are facing challenges in falling pregnant, it is extremely important that you and your partner both receive a check up from a fertility specialist sooner rather than later.

Reproductive health is affected by general health

Whether you are already trying to have a child or not yet, your general level of health and your lifestyle choices are important determinants of success, now and in the future, and for both the male partner and the female partner.

This is another fact about reproductive health that should be highlighted from an early age, but is not – and as a consequence, few people understand the impact of their lifestyle choices on their fertility.

Good lifestyle choices will boost your general health and your reproductive health, significantly improving your chances as a couple to conceive, carry a baby to full term and have a healthy child.

Dr Clark notes that fertility is directly linked into general health and wellbeing. This means maintaining a healthy mental and physical state, encompassing everything from healthy nutrition and moderate exercise to sufficient sleep and managing stress levels, as well as the prevention of lifestyle diseases such as obesity and diabetes.

However, there is no one path or even one group of interventions that is the only right option, and good health does not require always and rigidly following a particular way. For example, a healthy lifestyle does not mean adopting a strict diet you can never deviate from.

There are many ways to lead a healthy life. It is primarily about leading a balanced life, maintaining a low frequency that does not introduce extremes that stress the health of the cells. Maintaining a healthy theme around a central balance point is a great starting point.

For both men and women who are trying to have a child, it is also important to avoid common toxic lifestyle choices, for example, smoking or using recreational drugs or even being exposed to certain medications. High stress levels also negatively impact on general mental and physical health, and therefore also on reproductive health.

Are you concerned about your reproductive health?

Reproductive Health Awareness Month is a great opportunity to learn more about your amazing and complex reproductive system, to better understand the role of both partners in conceiving, carrying and delivering a healthy baby, and to adopt a lifestyle that will boost your reproductive health, now and in the future.

Find out more at, an initiative of IFAASA, the Infertility Awareness Association of South Africa or visit the IFAASA website at
At Medfem, we are very proud that our own Dr Antonio Rodrigues, also a Reproductive Medicine Specialist and Director at Medfem Fertility Clinic, is a Non-Executive Board Member of IFAASA.
If you are concerned about your reproductive health in any way, we would like to invite you to come and meet Dr Clark, Dr Rodrigues or one of the other acclaimed Reproductive Medicine Specialists on the Medfem team.

At Medfem, we believe in helping you reach your family dream through:

* World-Class Fertility for Everyone
* A Positive Fertility Journey
* Delivered With Empathy & Caring

Our team at Medfem Fertility Clinic 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.

Simply click here to book an initial consultation or contact us telephonically on +27 (11) 463 2244.

We look forward to meeting you!



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