Infertility is the inability of a COUPLE (a man and a woman) to achieve conception (pregnancy) after one full year of regular, unprotected, penetrative, vaginal sexual intercourse. The problem of infertility has been in existence since the origin of the human family setting, and it is one of the major causes of marital unhappiness. This problem of infertility is worsened by many unfounded myths deeply rooted in the culture of many societies and until these myths are done away with, efforts to address infertility will always have limited success. Below are 4 culturally rooted misconceptions about infertility that you should disregard:
- The Woman is solely to Blame for Infertility
In many societies in this part of the world, the whole blame is placed on the wife for the couple not having a child. Family relatives go to the extent of encouraging the man to take another wife and send the woman in question away. But the medically proven truth is infertility is a couple problem, not one individual’s. Many years of medical research show that both the husband and the wife contribute equally to the cause of their infertility problem: the man contributes about 35% separately and the woman also contributes 35%, making up 70% of the possible causes of their infertility problem. For the remaining 30% of causes of infertility, the couple jointly contributes 20%; the 10% left is attributed to unknown causes which are neither from the man or the woman, meaning that a couple can be medically alright, yet have problem with achieving pregnancy due to these unknown causes. So, never blame the woman solely in any relationship/marriage dealing with infertility. Infertility is a couple problem not only the woman’s problem.
- Only the Woman Need Medical Attention
This comes from the above notion that infertility in a marriage is solely the woman’s fault, and most times, only the woman comes to the gynaecology clinic. This is absolutely wrong. Medical evaluation of infertility is almost ineffective if only the woman is the one who comes to the hospital for assessment. The man and the woman must come to the hospital together to be evaluated for the possible causes of their infertility as this will help the gynaecologist and the urologist (male gynaecologist) to administer the best possible treatment suitable for them based on the identified cause of infertility, the duration of infertility (number of years), and the woman’s age. The best chance a couple has at addressing their infertility problem is to be completely open to each other and seek medical treatment together.
- If the Woman is not Pregnant after 6 months, she’s Infertile
Though not so much of a talking point, many people believe that if the woman’s belly has not popped out 6 months after marriage, she’s infertile. However, truth is a couple can only be said to be infertile after one whole year of regular, unprotected, penetrative, vaginal sexual intercourse. This means that the couple must have had penetrative vaginal sexual intercourse at least 3 times a week for one full year without achieving conception (pregnancy). Therefore, it is wrong and unfair to say a woman or a couple is infertile after just 6 months of marriage. The only exception here, and which should only be a concern for the couple, is if the woman is above 35 years (a woman’s chance of conceiving decreases with increasing age, while the rate of miscarriage increases as she becomes older) or the husband has had a previous failed attempt at impregnating a woman before his present marriage; in this case, the couple must quickly visit a specialist hospital to see both a gynaecologist and a urologist.
- A Married Woman less than 45 to 50 years is Barren.
This is medically wrong. A woman still has the capacity to conceive and give birth to a child until she attains menopause (when she stops ovulating naturally). So, even if a married woman has not given birth, it is a misconception to state that she is barren until she reaches the end of her reproductive life which is the beginning of menopause, and most women reach menopause around the age of 50.
Infertility is a big problem in the society and as much as 10 to 15% of couples within the reproductive age have infertility problems. The best way to manage infertility is the couple seeking medical help together with all openness and love, and their families and friends supporting and encouraging them no matter how long it may take.
For more advice and help, feel free to ask a Doctor via The Reliance Care App.