World Fertility Day – 2 November 2021


Launched on 2 November 2018 by IVF Babble, World Fertility Day is an annual awareness day observed worldwide to celebrate, deliberate, discuss, highlight and campaign for fertility.

It also aims to raise awareness around fertility issues and infertility worldwide, to advocate for better resources, and to inspire the almost 50 million couples across countries and cultures who experience infertility.

Of particular importance is breaking the silence and taboo that has existed around infertility for too long; to ensure those living with infertility realise that they are not alone and do not have to live in isolation; to break barriers across cultures; and to empower people with fertility knowledge so they are able to make informed decisions on their journey to parenthood.

The reality is that one in six couples across the globe are affected by infertility. It is so much more common than most people realise. This is because infertility is seldom openly talked about. Compelled by a false sense of shame, taboo or embarrassment about their fertility challenges, many couples shy away from or simply avoid telling even their families or closest friends about their situation.

A lack of clear, accurate information about fertility and its treatment exacerbates the situation. It is unfortunately not common knowledge 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.

One of the treatments that has certainly provided couples worldwide with renewed hope is in vitro fertilization or IVF therapy. While IVF treatment was originally developed for women with damaged or missing fallopian tubes, it is now also used for a variety of other infertility problems, particularly for male factor problems, endometriosis and advanced maternal age.

In 2010, Robert Geoffrey Edwards was awarded the Nobel Prize for the “development of human in vitro fertilization (IVF) therapy”, an innovation defined as “a milestone in modern medicine”.

In fact, in the four decades since the world’s first IVF baby – Louise Joy Brown – was born on 25 July 1978, at least 8 million babies have been born thanks to IVF treatment.

In the simplest terms, IVF treatment is a process of assisted reproduction where the egg is fertilised with sperm outside of the body in a laboratory to form an embryo, which is then transferred are the uterus to hopefully implant and become a pregnancy. It is important, however, to realise that IVF treatment is not a single event, but rather a series of procedures that are completed over five stages to complete a treatment cycle. The success rates of IVF treatment are now comparable – and even superior – to those of nature.

In a recent article, Louise Brown tells how – 40 years ago – her mom gave birth after almost 9 years of trying. Scared of needles and facing tough train trips from Bristol to Manchester for countless injections, she persevered until she held Louise in her arms thanks to the pioneering IVF process.

Since then, there have been further great advances in medical technology that has ensured that almost every couple can now have their own biological child.

For example, in the 1990s, a revolutionary new technique of fertilising an egg in the lab – called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) – was first used in Belgium. ICSI is a procedure in which sperm are directly injected into the egg by qualified embryologists using very fine tools in a process known as micromanipulation. ICSI 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.

“[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 Brown. “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.”

World Fertility Day is also an opportunity to highlight some reproductive health messages from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

It defines infertility as a “disease of the reproductive system” that results in disability. The WHO also describes infertility as a global public health issue, stating: “Infertility and subfertility affect a significant proportion of humanity. WHO has calculated that over 10% of women are afflicted – women who have tried unsuccessfully, and have remained in a stable relationship for five years or more. Estimates in women using a two-year time frame result in prevalence values 2.5 times larger. The burden in men is unknown. The overall burden of subfertility/infertility is significant, likely underestimated, and has not displayed any decrease over the last 20 years. Yet, the field of reproductive medicine and endocrinology is rapidly growing, with success stories that have resolved infertility and fertility problems – from the most simple fertility awareness methods to more advanced innovations.”

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 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

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.

The theme of this year’s World Fertility Day is #IVFcaretoshare. You can share and read stories on social using #ivfcaretoshare and #worldfertilityday2021.

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.
We look forward to meeting you at Medfem Fertility Clinic!



Spread the love