Research shows that up to 20 percent of South African couples may suffer from infertility – ranked by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the fifth highest serious global disability.
The Infertility Awareness Association of South Africa advises that couples see a fertility specialist if they are under 35 and have been trying to fall pregnant for over a year, or are over 35 and been trying for six months.
The WHO has classified infertility as a “disease of the reproductive system, defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular, unprotected intercourse”.
Dr Frances Paterson, urogynaecologist at The Urology Hospital Pretoria, explains that not all couples who experience fertility problems are infertile, adding that treatment may help.
She says in about 80 percent of couples, the cause of infertility is either an ovulation problem, blockage of the fallopian tubes, or a sperm problem.