Struggling to have a baby is something that many people of different age groups and social circles experience in their lives.  Although infertility used to be regarded as a female issue, this notion has been proved wrong over time. We now know that male infertility is as common as female infertility, so there is no point blaming it on just the woman.

In the simplest terms, infertility is the state of not being able to be pregnant after one year of actively trying to conceive through regular sexual intercourse without using birth control. If you are a woman that is over 35, you will be diagnosed as suffering from infertility, if you cannot be pregnant after six months of trying to conceive through regular sexual intercourse.

The issue with infertility or sub-fertility (reduced fertility) is that you may not be aware of the condition until you attempt to conceive. Roughly 1 in 4 couples in Nigeria will struggle with infertility. It is important to know that being infertile does not mean you are sterile. Whereas sterility means it is impossible for a couple to have children, infertility still holds some hope because while you may be unable to conceive a child naturally for whatever reason, you are likely to conceive with medical intervention.

Early diagnosis holds the most promise of correcting infertility, hence it is best to always listen to your body and take notice of any changes or issues. What you should also bear in mind is that the treatment that’s right for you and your partner will depend on many factors, including your age, the cause of infertility, and your personal preferences.

 In the long run, whether or not a specific infertility treatment that you choose results in a pregnancy or not, can depend on many factors. There may even be cases that are untreatable, but depending on the circumstances, your doctor may suggest that you and your partner consider donor sperm or eggs, surrogacy, or even adoption.

Bear in mind, complex medical intervention is not always required and it is a common misconception amongst those struggling to conceive that (IVF) in-vitro fertilization) is their only option. But no, this, however, is not always the case. While it is without a doubt that IVF is one of the best things that has happened to infertility treatment in the last four or five decades, it is not everybody or every couple that is infertile that will require IVF to conceive.

What you should keep in mind is that for you and for any particular individual or couple, the best treatment for infertility will depend on the cause of the condition. Infertility may be the result of various factors, either in the man or the woman, that interfere with conception. Thanks to advances in modern medicine, there are several possible solutions that are able to significantly improve your chances of falling pregnant.

In some couples, one partner may be suffering from thyroid issues such as an underactive (hypothyroidism) or overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), this may have a direct impact on fertility as the hormones produced and regulated by the thyroid gland have an influence on ovulation and fertility. Cases such as these can be easily treated with oral medication. A reproductive specialist can assist in correcting any abnormalities before more complex intervention is considered.

Age is the common inhibiting factor for fertility. For men and women, fertility declines with age, specifically from 30 years old in women and 40 years old in men. It is always advised that you see the doctor, if you are a woman aged below 35, after a year of trying to have a baby. If you are over 35, you should see a doctor after six months.

Take note of the medications that you are using. Your sexual history and medical history are equally important. Don’t take things like diet, exercise habits, body changes, and genetic issues for granted. They also come into play.

Very often, you may be referred to a reproductive medicine specialist. You may also need to track your menstrual cycles in order to assess what they are like. This can provide extremely helpful information for your reproductive medicine specialist in the process of assessing your case.

Do not let any of the above dissuade you. The landscape of fertility treatment in Nigeria continues to be dynamic, with many changes in attitudes and cultural norms. Being diagnosed with infertility can be daunting, but it doesn’t mean that your dreams of having a child have come to an end. Not in the least. 

It may take some time, but a number of couples that experience infertility will eventually be able to have their own biological child. We have seen this happen over and over; some people will do so on their own, while others will need medical assistance.

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