As identified by the World Health Organization (WHO), these key factors sufficiently elucidate the issue of infertility and underscore the need to address this concern.
Infertility is a medical condition affecting the male or female reproductive system, marked by the inability to conceive after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse. It exerts a widespread impact on millions of individuals, influencing their families and communities. Global estimates indicate that approximately one in six people of reproductive age experience infertility during their lifetime.
In the male reproductive system, infertility often arises from challenges related to semen ejection, low sperm levels, or abnormalities in sperm morphology and motility. Meanwhile, in the female reproductive system, infertility can stem from various issues affecting the ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, and the endocrine system.
Infertility is either primary or secondary. Primary infertility refers to the absence of a prior pregnancy, while secondary infertility occurs when a woman got pregnant previously.
Importance of Addressing Infertility
Addressing infertility is essential as it aligns with the basic human rights to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, enabling individuals and couples to make choices about the number, timing, and spacing of their children.
Infertility poses a considerable barrier to realizing these rights, affecting various groups, including those not in sexual relationships and those with specific medical conditions. Inequities in accessing fertility care services disproportionately affect marginalized populations, including the poor, unmarried, uneducated, and unemployed.
Also, managing infertility contributes to mitigating gender inequality. Although both women and men can face infertility, societal perceptions often unfairly burden women in relationships with blame, leading to negative social consequences such as violence, divorce, stigma, stress, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. The fear of infertility may discourage contraception use, highlighting the demand for educational interventions to dispel misconceptions and promote understanding of fertility and infertility determinants.
Fertility care encompasses efforts aimed at preventing, diagnosing, and treating infertility. Despite its significant impact, achieving equal and equitable access to fertility care remains a challenge, especially in low and middle-income regions. Fertility care is often overlooked at Santaan, emphasizing the demand for increased attention to this critical aspect of healthcare.