Five things we learnt from the latest research on infertility

A recent by the United Nations shows infertility is on the rise in South Africa. Here’s what we know so far.

According to The World Health Organisation, “Infertility is a “disease of the reproductive system, defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular, unprotected intercourse”. The latest report issued by the United Nations around the infertility issue has made some interesting discoveries.

Here’s what we’ve learnt so far

  1. 20% of South African couples struggle to conceive

Research shows that this figure includes both males and females almost equally facing challenges in conceiving.

  1. South African fertility rates are lower than global average

In 2020 fertility rates in South Africa are expected to be at an average 2.3 children per woman, slightly lower than the global average of about 2.5

  1. Leading cause of infertility in women

In women leading causes of infertility in women include ovulation disorders, uterine or cervical abnormalities, fallopian tube damage or blockage, endometriosis, early menopause, pelvic adhesions and certain cancers and their treatment such as radiation and chemotherapy.

  1. Leading causes of infertility in men

In men infertility causes may include increasing age, obesity, smoking, using addictive substances, radiation, nutrition, taking supplements and steroids, a high testicular temperature, infections and STIs, genital injuries and varicocoele (enlargement of veins in the scrotal sack).

  1. Infertility often has no symptoms

Often couples discover infertility when they try to conceive. Although the report states some women may have irregular or absent periods while men may experience hormonal symptoms such changes in hair growth or sexual function.

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