Welcome

Dear reader

Infertility is a disease of the reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse (WHO-ICMART glossary). Infertility can occur in both men and women. African culture places great emphasis on a couple’s capability to have children and the couple’s place in society remains unjustified until proven through childbearing. Unlike men, who are rarely blamed for childlessness, women bear the social brunt of a couple’s failure to have a child and they are very often discriminated, ostracised and stigmatised. The results of which include depression and anxiety, suicidal tendencies and a strong conceptualisation of grief. In certain cases intimate partner violence and sexual violence have been associated with infertility.

We chose to focus on infertility because this is a disease that affects millions of people across Africa. Secondly, so much emphasis is being placed on delaying or spacing pregnancies such that involuntary infertility is overlooked. Thirdly, silence on infertility is the norm in African culture and it has led to many couples coping alone, in pain and very often uninformed.

In an effort to unveil the mystery surrounding infertility, we interviewed Aziza Cassim from BioART Fertility Centre in Johannesburg. Aziza has 22 years’ experience working in the field of infertility answers questions that you, our readers, submitted – she answers questions around what infertility is; diagnostic techniques available; and existing treatment options.

This newsletter includes articles on how African families cope with infertility; eight surprising facts about male infertility; and one company’s efforts to remove stigma towards women living with infertility in Kenya and Uganda.

You can also read about exciting new research from the Institute of Integrative Nanosciences that involves the use of a Nanoscribe 3D printer to develop tiny ‘macro-motors’ that can actually help boost a sperm’s motility thereby increasing its odd of latching onto the egg.

We share research papers on determining the awareness of fertility period among fertile women; the impact of Chlamydia trachomatis on infertility, clinical manifestations and complications in both males and females; and the assessment of the knowledge, attitudes and practice to adoption in a rural community in Nigeria.

We hope you enjoy this issue!

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We welcome your contributions. Please submit newsworthy articles about your organisation’s current activities, research updates, skills building, training and events to nvundamina@wrhi.ac.za.

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ReproNet-Africa Update

 

ReproNet-Africa Dashboard 2015 - 2016

The Dashboard provides insight into ReproNet-Africa’s growth, trends and additional initiatives ReproNet is actively pursuing.

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News on infertility

What you need to know about infertility diagnosis and treatment: An interview with Azziza Cassim

ReproNet-Africa's Nkunda Vundamina interviewed Aziza Cassim from BioART Fertility Clinic to find out more about infertility, the different diagnostic techniques and treatments available. … Read more.

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Infertility definitions and terminology

Infertility definitions and terminology

Definitions and terminology impact many of the key issues associated with subfertility and infertility. Consistency in use of definition and a standardized methodological diagnostic tool will be required in order to define the true global burden of disease – in men and women. … Read more.

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How the African Family Copes with Infertility

How the African Family Copes with Infertility

Sharon Sigauke The way a marriage ceremony is celebrated in African society is overwhelming. Relatives gather and ululate for the new bride, who is a symbol of fertility in the home. The elderly people begin to eagerly anticipate that within the next few months, the bride will be holding a baby in her arms. The marriage celebrations will … Read more.

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Mother of George – “Marriage and Infertility”

Mother of George – “Marriage and Infertility”

In this movie, Andrew Dosunmu, film director, portrays a world that many would judge straightforward. The premise of the story is an African couple living in Brooklyn and having trouble conceiving a child – a problem that defies cultural expectations and leads the husband to make an outrageous decision that could either save or ruin her family. … Read more.

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8 Surprising Facts About Male Infertility

8 surprising facts about male infertility

From riding bikes to wearing tighty whities and, ironically, using sex toys, there are lots of rumors and myths surrounding male infertility. So you might find the reality a bit shocking — male infertility is just as likely to be the reason a couple is having trouble conceiving, even though female infertility gets the most lip service. Read more.

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What is sperm really worth?

What is sperm really worth?

While Africans are not new to the organ trade business, there is a lot of speculation on whether or not African men will willingly donate their sperm at all, much less at the price of almost a thousand dollars. The bigger question that has arisen since the adverts came out is if the worth of a man’s sperm can really be quantified in iPhones. … Read more.

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Photo Fertilization by Science 3.0 source: Health Aim News

5 Facts About Assisted Reproductive Technology

The number of childbirths involving reproductive technologies is on a rise all over the world. All such technologies in assisting pregnancy through various methods are collectively termed as Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). Primarily used in fertility treatment, ART also helps in management of communicable diseases and aids genetic diagnosis. … Read more.

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How Merck Is Helping To Remove The Stigma Towards Infertile Women Across Africa

How Merck is helping to remove the stigma towards infertile women across Africa

A lot of women in Uganda and other developing countries carry the social burden of a couple’s failure to have children with them. Merck, a leading science and technology company, provides training for African embryologists in Indonesia starting with candidates from Uganda and Kenya. … Read more.

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Couples trial low-cost IVF treatment in Ghana

Couples trial low-cost IVF treatment in Ghana

Fertility treatments like IVF are a bit of a lottery - giving infertile couples a 30 per cent chance of having a child. However the high cost of IVF makes it impossible for many couples to access. A team of doctors in Ghana have developed a technique that means IVF can be preformed for a fifth of the normal cost. … Read more.

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IVF Faces Stigma in Kenya

IVF faces stigma in Kenya

Millions of babies have been born via in-vitro fertilization since the method was first developed in Britain in 1978; but, IVF technology has been slow to catch on in sub-Saharan Africa. The Nairobi IVF Center opened in 2004 and has since helped more than 2,000 infertile couples have biological children, said head of operations Joy Noreh. … Read more.

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Research evidence

3D printed 'Spermbots' boost sperm mobility and could help solve male infertility

3D printed 'Spermbots' boost sperm mobility and could help solve male infertility

Now, researchers from the Institute for Integrative Nanosciences have used a Nanoscribe 3D printer to develop tiny ‘micro-motors’ that can actually help boost a sperm’s motility, increasing its odds of latching onto the egg. These 3D printed ‘Spermbots’ have proven very successful in lab tests ... Read more.

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Confronting the Challenge of Reproductive Health in Africa: A Textbook for students and development practitioners

Textbook: Confronting the challenge of reproductive Health in Africa

Chapter 13 looks at the impact of infertility on sexual and reproductive health in Africa. … Read more.

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Infertility: emerging issue brief

Why is it an emerging issue? Infertility is not a new problem. However, in the last decade it has attracted increasing attention, focussing on three concerns: 1) A medical/clinical concern that an increasing number of couples are seeking Medically Assisted Reproduction (MAR) and that some risk factors for infertility are increasing. 2) An economic/demographic concern regarding … Read more.

Estimating the Prevalence of Infertility in Nigeria: Application of a Current Duration Methodological Approach to Demographic and Health Survey Data

Estimating the Prevalence of Infertility in Nigeria: Application of a Current Duration Methodological Approach to Demographic and Health Survey Data

This study aims to to determine criteria necessary to apply a current duration approach to measuring infertility using DHS data; and explore the impact of underlying assumptions in the context of a low contraceptive prevalence population. … Read more.

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Awareness of fertility period among women attending immunization clinic at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Northern Nigeria

The objective of this study was to determine the awareness of fertility period among fertile women at Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH). There is a global concern about poor awareness of fertility. … Read more.

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Association of Chlamydia trachomatis with infertility and clinical manifestations: a systematic review and meta-analysis of case-control studies

This paper looks at the impact of Chlamydia trachomatis on infertility, clinical manifestations and complications in both males and females. However, its role in infertility, particularly in asymptomatic individuals, is not yet definitely determined. … Read more.

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Office-based sperm concentration: a simplified method for intrauterine insemination therapy

This paper describes a simplified one-step method to determine the sperm concentration range for  Intrauterine insemination (IUI) therapy. IUI could become preferred to more invasive and expensive techniques of assisted reproduction therapy (ART) and should be offered as the first … Read more.

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Child adoption amongst women attending infertility clinic in a tertiary hospital in south Nigeria

The study set out to assess the knowledge, attitude and practice to adoption in a rural community in Esan central Local government area of Edo state, Nigeria. Child adoption is one of the main options for infertile couples … Read more.

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Events 2016

3rd Annual making dads fertility virtual summit

 

3rd Annual making dads fertility virtual summit

Infertility silently affects millions of men across Africa and the summit provides the best resources to empower men to take charge of your fertility. Mark your calendar for 2016 the summit brings together some of the world's most prominent male fertility experts. … Read more.

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World Embryologists Day 2016

World Embryologists Day 2016

World Embryologists Day is a day to celebrate the scientists in reproductive medicine. This day was chosen because it is the birthday of Louise Brown, the first IVF baby. ... Read more.

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3rd International Conference on Gynecology & Obstetrics

3rd International Conference on Gynecology & Obstetrics

This year's theme is "Best Practice & Research in Obstetrics & Gynecology". It offers a cutting edge program of renowned international speakers, specialist concurrent sessions, short paper and poster presentations attracting over 450 experts in fertility, assisted conception, sexual health … Read more.

Translational Reproductive Biology and Clinical Reproductive Endocrinoloy

 The theme of this conference is "Paradigm changes you may not hear about elsewhere.” It's goal is to offer an authoritative 2016 update for reproductive scientists and clinicians about important new translational developments in reproductive biology/physiology and clinically relevant patient-care... Read more

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Useful links on infertility

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ReproNet-Africa is a network of sexual and reproductive health and rights institutions, organisations and programs in Africa. ReproNet-Africa receives funding from the World Health Organisation’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research (RHR), Special Programme of Research, Development, and Research Training in Human Reproduction (HRP). It also receives technical support from and is housed within the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute (Wits RHI) in Johannesburg, South Africa.