- Infertility is a growing issue in Pakistan, affecting a significant number of couples who struggle to conceive even after a year of trying to have a baby.
- The causes of infertility are multifaceted, with male and female factors contributing, and delayed marriage and lifestyle choices playing a significant role.
- Addressing the problem requires increasing awareness, improving access to quality healthcare, promoting early marriage and family planning, managing conditions like PCOS, and focusing on male reproductive health to enhance fertility outcomes in Pakistan.
Infertility has become increasingly prevalent in Pakistan, affecting a significant number of couples who struggle to conceive even after a year of unprotected sexual activity.
Numerous factors contribute to infertility, necessitating a thorough understanding of its underlying causes to effectively tackle the issue.
A research study in the Pakistan Journal of Public Health reveals that approximately 21% of couples in Pakistan face infertility challenges.
Male factors contribute to 37% of infertility cases, while female factors are responsible for 51%, with both genders involved in 12% of cases. Another study from Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal indicates a rising infertility rate among Pakistani couples over the past decade.
The research also highlights a higher prevalence of infertility in urban areas compared to rural regions, attributed to delayed marriages, increased instances of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and lifestyle changes.
During a lecture titled ‘Evaluation of an Infertile Couple,’ Prof. Dr Jaweed Akhtar notes that the infertility rate in Pakistan is approximately 22%, significantly higher than the global average of 12-18%.
He estimates that around 4 million couples in Pakistan grapple with infertility, with males accounting for 40-70% of infertility cases.
Common Causes of Infertility in Pakistan:
- Delayed Marriage and Childbearing: Delayed family planning due to educational and career pursuits results in reduced fertility, particularly for women.
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): This hormonal disorder affects many Pakistani women, causing irregular periods and hindering ovulation.
- Tubal Blockage: Infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, or surgeries can lead to blockages in the fallopian tubes, preventing fertilization.
- Male Factor Infertility: Often overlooked, issues like low sperm count and poor sperm quality significantly contribute to infertility cases in Pakistan.
- Unhealthy Lifestyle Habits: Practices like smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and drug use negatively impact fertility, especially in a country with high male smoking rates.
6 Lifestyle Habits That Cause Poor Fertility
Addressing the Issue:
To combat infertility in Pakistan, several measures can be considered:
- Increasing Awareness: Educating couples about infertility causes and treatments through campaigns, workshops, and media outreach can empower them to seek help.
- Quality Healthcare: Improving access to high-quality healthcare, including fertility clinics and reproductive health specialists, ensures couples receive necessary medical assistance.
- Encouraging Early Marriage and Childbearing: Promoting the significance of early family planning can reduce age-related infertility; community programs and religious leader guidance can facilitate this.
- PCOS Prevention and Management: Educating women about PCOS, its symptoms, and available treatments can enhance fertility outcomes through early intervention.
- Focus on Male Reproductive Health: Encouraging men to prioritize reproductive health and adopt a healthy lifestyle can significantly impact fertility rates in Pakistan.
Infertility is a complex issue in Pakistan, affecting numerous couples.
By understanding its causes and implementing appropriate measures, we can work towards addressing this problem and supporting those facing fertility challenges.
Prioritizing education, healthcare access, and early interventions is essential for improving fertility outcomes in Pakistan.
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