Professor Oladapo Ashiru, is one of best fertility experts Nigeria has produced. ENCOMIUM Weekly had a chat with the expert of over 30 years on the cure and causes of infertility and much more.
What is infertility?
Infertility is the inability of a couple have their biological baby after two years of living together. But in some couples, we advice them to come before two years, especially those that are of age. A woman who got married at 35 and above is advised to come at least for six months ovulation with the husband who finds it difficult to have a baby. In our society, infertility puts a lot of pressure on people because f the way we view paternity. Mothers pressure, the families pressure, wanting you to have a baby immediately after marriage, because as a woman, you are supposed to be pregnant.
But they don’t know there are some male factors that can cause infertility. Everybody is focused on the woman and the society sees that pressure on the woman as cause of the infertility. In our society today, we have noticed that men have issues with low sperm count. What is a low sperm count? A sperm count that is below 10-15 melon per meal. We do sperm analysis for men, test the women, do the men pelvic test, access both them. Low sperm of 10-15 melon might not be able to get a woman pregnant. In women, we look at the ovulatory factors. Some women do not ovulate and also have tube issues. Tube issue is the theralopain tube id supposed to transport the egg from the ovary is not open. There are things that can cause a tube to be closed.
Today, we have Pelvic Allison infection, sexually transmitted infections, such as, gonorrhea, clamedia, and so on and once they get there, they cause obstructions so the egg and sperm will not be able to meet for the women to conceive.
With all these causes of infertility you have mentioned, how can a woman that has infection know she has infertility?
Some people have infection, while some people harbor infection. Some of these infections can be in a woman’s body and it will not do any harm to the woman. By the time it becomes problematic you will start having discharge, that is not supposed to smell will now start smelling. You need to go to your doctor and every woman is advised to have cervical test at least once in a year. Once you are sexually active to check.
Can a woman that abstains from sex have infertility?
Yes! You can be a virgin and have infertility. It is not only infection, we have restructure abnormalities. The ulterior line of some people have fibroid that cause infertility, some women have cervical mincus hostility. If the mincus is hooked to the sperm, infertility will occur.
How can infertility be managed?
All these things, you can’t know until you get married. And try for the first 24 month according to WHO, for younger couples and if nothing happens, go and see a doctor for analysis.
Are there cases where certain fertility issues defer medical solution?
With the advent of new technology (IBF) those women that use have tubes before there was no solution now there is solution through (IBF). In the past, people used to do tube surgery and they tend to cause more problem and at the end of the surgery the pregnancy rate is like 45 percent which is so low but with the advent of in-built fertilization those group of women that have bilateral tube issue are able to conceive because now you are by-passing the tube, cervical wall, you stimulate the women to give some insight of egg and also stimulate the man with some medications that will help his sperm quality. Then you bring out the egg and sperm and fertilizer in your lab and return them after three days.
How do you handle your patients that had paid a huge amount of money and did not get result on time?
In those cases, when a patient visits a clinic, we inform them how long the procedure will be, the cost of the procedure, the emotional attachment, the physical stress they will pass through due to daily injection and also lay it to them that, this IBF you are doing is like you meeting your husband in the room. Because it is not every month a woman meets her husband that she conceives, so they understand all that.
We make them understand that we can make you pregnant. It can work and at the same time it may fail. And if it works, everybody is elated, if it fails, the woman is frustrated and angry and in all this, they remember all the money they have spent and stress they went through. Most times, they don’t remember the money they spent. The success rate of IBF is between 35 percent to 45 percent so we make all that known to them and also give then an emotional support.
What are the changes of a woman that is over 40 years to conceive?
At 40 years old, fertility would have declined so much, because this days, women go to work, everybody is at the work front. Before, at 23-24 years people are married but it is not so anymore. But now everybody is pre-occupied with work and career and it delays child birth and it’s now affecting a lot of women.
But that age a lot of abnormalities would have started growing in the womb. These set of women have opportunity to use IBF to try conception.
Is some fertility issues spiritually based?
I don’t know about that. Everything they say happen in Africa is spiritually based. I am a medical doctor, if I get a patient, I try to analyse you in the medical way.
What were the most difficult challenging cases you have handled?
We have challenges because we treat some women as old as 50 years with fertility issues.
What are the best ways to cure fertility issues?
I would advise our younger women to practice safe sex, abstinence is the best, but if you can’t, practice safe sex. Use condom, stay with one partner. And we would start educating women about marrying early, even if you don’t get to marry early, visit the clinic when you are young.
If you have lived with your husband for 14 months and conception is not forthcoming you should visit the clinic for help to seek help early is the best way.
Can abortion cause infertility in a woman?
Yes, abortion can cause infertility in women. Abortion can damage the womb and find it difficult to conceive.
What are the effects of electronic gadgets on infertility?
Electronic gadgets cause infertility in men. They should avoid tight-fitted pants, heat from their laptop, taking it closer to their private part, avoid taking hot bath, sitting down for a long while. Those that work with chemical are also prone to have low sperm count. And also they should avoid environmental toxic and some hypertension drugs.
- This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, August 7, 2012