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Experts identify reasons behind Nigeria’s high infertility cases 

Concerned by the increase in number of families battling with infertility, gynecologists and other medical experts have identified ignorance, lack of awareness, and others as factors contributing to the rise in infertility cases across the country. 

They argued that many Nigerians have less knowledge of fertility, saying they do not know that issues on fertility do not often lay with one of the partners alone.

The experts revealed reasons behind the increasing number of Nigerians experiencing infertility during the 2024 Fertility  Conference, held in Lagos with the theme: “Infertility – Need for Knowledge and Early Intervention,” which was organised by the Parah Family Foundation (PFF).

During the conference, the lead speaker, Prof. Preye Fiebai, a specialist in Obstetrics and Gynaecology from the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, highlighted ignorance and lack of awareness as major factors contributing to the rise in infertility cases. 

Fiebai noted that many Nigerian men were unaware that the ability to ejaculate did not equate to being fertile to impregnate a woman.

According to him, research indicates that 20-45 percent of women in Nigeria are infertile, but often, the cause of infertility in marriages is not the women. The research breakdown shows that 40 percent of infertility cases are due to male factors, 40% to female factors, 15 percent to combined male and female factors, and 5 percent are unexplained.

Prof. Fiebai listed causes of infertility in men, including erectile dysfunction, impotence, decreased libido, psychogenic issues, endocrinopathies, age, and overweight, among others. For women, he pointed to cervical factors, uterine factors, diseases of the fallopian tubes, and problems with ovulation.

Also, a don in Surgery from the University of Lagos, Prof. Habeeb Tijani, added factors such as age, weight, stress, excessive alcohol consumption, exposure to radiation, and constant exposure of the testicles to high temperatures as contributors to infertility.

The Managing Director of Lifeline Fertility Clinic, Dr. Kemi Ailoje, and Rev. Tony Akinyemi, concurred with the other speakers and offered various remedies to overcome infertility. They also advised women over the age of 54 to avoid aspiring for pregnancy due to the associated risks.

Earlier, the convener, Dayo Odukoya, described the infertility rates and causes as “alarming.” She emphasized the need for ongoing awareness to encourage couples experiencing infertility to seek solutions early in their marriages rather than delaying.

“The foundation’s primary objective is to share vital information, enlighten and provide the relevant support system for families undergoing fertility challenges in order to eradicate ignorance, the misguided myths and social stigma associated with delayed fertility in our society. 

“The choice of the theme for this year conference; Infertility- Needs for Knowledge and Early Intervention; is to further reiterate the importance of continued awareness, and knowledge about the challenges of infertility and more importantly, action to be taken as early as possible if not, it may cause further delays, especially in late marriage and aged women.
“The journey to Parenthood is lonely and must not be threaded alone. There is a need for a support system on this journey and that is where Parah Family comes in.

” The rate of infertility and the causes are alarming such that it requires a continued education that would enable couples undergoing the challenges to speak out on time and seek solutions early in marriage rather than wait until later.”, she said

At the conclusion of the conference, the PFF offered two free IVF treatments and one free fertility investigation on three participating couples.

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