Infertility affects up to 5 million people in Uganda, much as the total fertility rate stands at 5.4%, which is one of the highest in the world.
Infertility, in simple terms, means being unable to get pregnant after one year of trying.
We base on the reproductive history to divide infertility into primary, where women have never been pregnant, and secondary, where women have been pregnant one year before.
A little more than 50% of people with infertility fall into the primary category.
Note that it’s harder to become pregnant after 30.
Around 35% to 50% of infertility is due to a male factor like low sperm count, abnormal sperm shape, or abnormal sperm motion (motility).
50% to 60% of infertility is related to female conditions, which include Fallopian tube disease, disorders related to the ovaries, and those related to the uterus or cervix. However, in 10% to 20% of the couples, the cause of infertility is unknown.
Men usually report no symptoms. Female couples tend to experience symptoms related to a few causes of infertility like abdominal cramping due to endometriosis or uterine fibroids.
Finding out the causes of infertility is a stepwise format that involves being very patient and understanding each of the investigations. Tests range from simple ones like getting a sperm count to complicated ones.
Tests include blood tests to measure female hormones: follicle-stimulating hormone, progesterone and estrogen, ultrasonography of the uterus and ovaries, and laparoscopy to have a look at the reproductive organs.
It is rather paramount to understand what’s involved in an infertility evaluation, including the methods, how long it will take, the limits, and the cost.
We base the treatment on finding out the reasons for infertility and overcoming them so that it’s possible to conceive.
Ways of doing this can be lifestyle changes (either losing or gaining weight), medicines for medical conditions, hormones, and drugs, like clomiphene citrate, to enable the ovaries to start releasing eggs.
We can do surgery to unblock the Fallopian tubes. We can also try intrauterine insemination and in vitro fertilization.
DOs and DON’Ts in Managing Infertility
- DO talk to your health care provider if you’re worried that you aren’t becoming pregnant.
- DO continue to have intercourse, according to your usual schedule.
- DO eat a healthy diet and exercise in moderation. Excessive exercise and weight loss may cause fertility issues by interfering with ovulation and menses.
- DON’T give up: we may help up to 85% of infertile couples.
- DON’T let the process of trying to get pregnant get in the way of the rest of your relationship.
- DON’T smoke or drink alcohol.
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