High cost of treatment, ignorance blamed for infertility woes

This article was first published on Nation.Africa

Many Kenyans in dire need of fertility treatment and associated services cannot access them, experts now say.

And the few who manage to find out where to get these services can hardly afford them.

This emerged at an annual awareness campaign held on Tuesday in Nairobi to mark the World Fertility Day 2021.

Dr Rajesh Chaudhary, the lead in vitro fertilisation (IVF) specialist at Fertility Point Kenya in Nairobi, explained that for most women, the problem is mainly blocked fallopian tubes.

He told noted that in 2020, the country’s fertility rate was 3.37 children per woman, in a gradual fall from 8.05 children in 1971.

He added that the country’s birth success rate is 60-70 per cent, though some studies indicate the success rate of IVF in African women is 20 per cent.

There are many causes of male infertility, according to Fertility Point Kenya.

“As a first step in your fertility investigation, you will be asked to undergo a physical examination and we will evaluate your medical history, taking into account your personal and family background, social and environmental factors that can influence your fertility. A semen analysis may be ordered to rule out abnormalities in the morphology and motility of the sperm.

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Our infertility specialist will help you diagnose the issue and recommend treatments or procedures that will result in conception,” the firm explains.

IVF is recommended for women suffering from blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis, ovulation disorders, premature ovarian failure, fibroids, male infertility factors, same-sex couples, single women and other unexplained infertility factors.

The expert added that most of the infections are due to sexually transmitted diseases (STDS).

IVF entails fertilising an egg outside the woman’s body, then implanting the resultant embryo in the body, while intrauterine insemination (IUI) entails inserting purified sperm inside a woman’s uterus.

The expert further explained that most women get pregnant after three or four attempts and when all fails, he advises them to go for IVF.

In IVF, eggs meet sperm in a petri dish in a laboratory.

 The resulting embryo, which has high implantation potential, is transferred back into a woman’s uterus for pregnancy to take its course.

There are four main IVF treatment options, depending on a patient’s situation. They include IVF using own eggs and a partner’s sperm, IVF using own eggs and donor sperm, IVF with donor eggs and a partner’s sperm and IVF with donor eggs and donor sperm.

 According to Dr Rajesh, the procedure is the most effective fertility treatment available and has high chances of success.

Fertility Point officials disclosed that they get 20 to 25 patients per day, which works out to 400 a month.

Dr Rajesh revealed that a couple has to part with a total of Sh450,000 for an IVF procedure.

“The injection costs between Sh100,000 and Sh150,000, depending on the ovary in reserve while pre-IVF assessment scans and blood tests  can cost up to Sh100,000,” he said.

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