Experts have voiced their concern that many Kenyans who are in dire need of fertility treatments and related services may not access them and the few who manage to locate the services can barely afford them. The concerns were raised at the annual awareness campaign that was held in Nairobi on Tuesday to mark the World Fertility day, 2021.
Dr. Rajesh Chaudhary who is a lead specialist in in vitro fertilization (IVF) at Fertility Point Kenya in Nairobi, explained that blocked fallopian tubes remains the main issue in women who are trying to conceive, which prevents them from reproducing. He added 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 further mentioned that Kenya’s birth success rate is 60-70 per cent, albeit some studies indicating that the success rate of IVF in African women stands at 20 per cent.
Fertility Point Kenya asserts that there are a myriad of causes of infertility in men, as compared to women. The clinic takes individuals through a simple yet rigorous process to ascertain the issue, which could be behind the infertility. Dr. Chaudhary said that the first step in investigating infertility involves taking the individual through a physical examination, where also the patient’s medical history, personal and family background, social and environmental factors are looked into, all that could influence fertility. Moreover, a semen analysis may be carried out to rule out abnormalities in the morphology and motility of the sperm.
Fertility Point specialists main objective is to assist the patients in diagnosing the issue and recommend treatments or procedures that will result in conception.
The specialists recommend IVF 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.
Dr. Chaudhary, in the same event, added that most of the infections that affect fertility in most patients are as a result of sexually transmitted diseases (STDS) but it should be noted that that is not the only cause.
Cecilia WairimuKaranja, the founder of Fertility Kenya, an organization dedicated to addressing the plight of men and women affected by infertility in the country said that the country still has a long way to go with regard to fertility issues.
“We set aside this day to get people talking about infertility because this is a topic many ignore and don’t want to get involved in and so one of our main objectives is to demystify it because many feel they have been cursed when they can’t get a baby,” said Ms. Karanja .
She pointed out that many people, particularly in the rural areas believe there is no solution to their infertility problems. Therefore, Ms. Karanja was of the view that it is important to let people know that there is a solution to infertility. She further tasked the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta to intervene and assist in establishing of a public IVF Centre. She gave a case study of Ms. Beatrice Mativo, a beneficiary of IVF who had struggled with infertility for seven years, and now in her second marriage where she is expecting twins, thanks to IVF. She added that IVF isan expensive procedure that is out of reach for many people and a Public Centre would go a long way in giving hope, bringing life into the society while eliminating stereotypes that imprison the minds of many people.
MsMativo, who is 13 weeks pregnant with twins,was elated as she gave a testimony of her suffering, which was ended by IVF.
Dr. Chaudhary cited thatIVF is the most effective fertility treatment available and has high chances of success.
IVF costs at Fertility Point starts from Kes 450,000.
It seems the journey towards eliminating infertility issues in the country is still a challenge, however, with the assistance of clinics such as Fertility Point Kenya, patients can have a sigh of relief as it is a major step towards offering a lifeline to many individuals who would not have achieved the dream of parenthood.