Prof. Abdulwahhed Olatinwo Photo: Highprofile.Com.Ng

Over 30 percent Nigerians have infertility problems: Gynecologist

*Abdulwaheed Olatinwo, a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, in an inaugural lecture highlights several means of assisting couples having infertility problems, as he discloses about 180 million couples are infertile globally with majority of them from developing countries, and 30 percent Nigerians  

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Professor Abdulwaheed Olatinwo of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), Nigeria, has said that over 30 percent of Nigerians have fertility problems.

The don Tuesday referenced a research paper he had earlier presented at an inaugural lecture of the university, titled: “Help for the Helpless and Hope for the Hopeless: The Medicine of Productive Possibility”, agency report said.

Professor Olatinwo observed that “about 180 million couples are infertile globally and majority of these are from developing countries.

“Infertility is a global problem with a general prevalence rate of about 10 to 15 percent.

“Reports from sub-Saharan Africa range from 20 to 46 percent, depending on the population, while up to 20 to 30 percent have been reported in Nigeria.”

The Professor, a lecturer in the Faculty of Clinical Science at UNILORIN, said that for fertility to occur, there were basic anatomic and physiologic requirements that must be fulfilled in both partners.

He explained: “An impairment of any of these requirements could lead to infertility, such as infections, tumour, hyperplasia insufficiency, cryptorchidism and atrophy of seminiferous tubules, among others.”

The expert stated that the challenge of infertility was viewed as a purely medical problem just like any other medical illnesses.

Olatinwo noted: “Many times, we limit our perception of the magnitude of it to what we see of the patient within the health facility, forgetting that infertility is a hydra-headed monster with many tentacles.

“The medical aspects are just one of these many facets. The medicalisation of infertility has caused the disregard for the social psychological, emotional and financial dimensions of the problem.”

According to him, the response of individuals, couples and families to infertility varied, as some indulged in an endless watchful waiting.

However, he emphasised that restoring hope for these hopeless individuals and ending their helplessness was not through a trial-by-error approach; rather, it involves intentional evidence-based scientific methods to restore any hope.

In spite of their best effort, several couples with infertility find no respite as the problem persisted, adding that some give up and accept that perhaps they were not destined to have children, said he.

Olatinwo stated: “There are several means of assisting beyond the dead end which include Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART).”

According to him, ART refers to all treatments or procedures that include in-vitro handling of the human oocyte and spermatozoa or embryo for the purpose of establishing pregnancy.

“This includes, but not limited to InVitro Fertilisation (IVF) and trans-cervical embryo transfer, gamete intra-fallopian transfer, zygote intra-fallopian transfer, gamete and embryo cryo-preservation, oocyte and embryo donation and gestational surrogacy,” he said.

The gynecologist said that infertility should be made a public health issue because it was socially constricted and existing at the crossroads of medical and social realms.

The management of infertility should be given special consideration under the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in order to ease the burden of the affected individuals, he added.

He, therefore, solicited public financing of IVF because infertility is a disability of the reproductive system, just as diseases of other body systems.

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