Breaking the silence around infertility in women and men

| October 31, 2022

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This week’s story from Mali focuses on uterine fibroids. While perhaps not as taboo as some other sexual and reproductive health topics, it is nevertheless a sensitive issue. Our Script of the week highlights another sensitive issue: infertility. 

In medical terms, “infertility” is defined as not being able to get pregnant after one year or more of regular, unprotected sexual intercourse. Men and women are affected equally by infertility, with 30% due to male factors and 30% to female factors. Forty per cent of infertility is caused by both male and female or unexplained factors. In many sub-Saharan African societies, there is a negative perception of infertility, and this stigma can cause those affected not to seek early medical attention. Women with infertility problems are particularly stigmatized, which adds psychological suffering to physical suffering.

Data from the World Health Organization shows that more than 180 million couples in developing countries suffer from primary or secondary infertility, terms which are defined in the script. In sub-Saharan Africa, infertility is caused by infections in more than 85% of women. This compares to only 33% worldwide, and underscores the importance of prevention programs in Africa.

Infertility can be addressed with surgery or assisted reproductive technologies such as artificial insemination.

This script defines infertility condition and its symptoms. It explains the causes of infertility in both men and women and ways in which one can reduce the risk of infertility. It underlines the importance of seeking medical assistance as soon as a couple realizes they are not able to conceive and describes the treatments and recommended reproductive technologies available to help a couple achieve a healthy pregnancy.

This script is based on actual interviews. You might choose to present it as part of your regular health program, using voice actors to represent the speakers. If so, please make sure to tell your audience at the beginning of the program that the voices are those of actors, not the original people involved in the interviews.

You could also use this script as research material or as inspiration for creating your own programming on infertility in your country.

If you want to broadcast a program on infertility, here are several topics that the program could cover:

  • How to prevent infertility
  • Causes of infertility in men and women
  • Treatments available for infertility