A couple that has been unable to conceive after one year of regular and unprotected intercourse is considered infertile. Today, twenty-five percent of married couples are infertile. l There is a world wide, emotional epidemic of infertility, and even in India which has severe overpopulation, the most common reason for a visit to the doctor is infertility. In Nigeria infertility that used to bea small area of a gynecology practice has now become a huge discipline with several doctors devoting their clinic solely to the practice of infertility/As we get older our ability to get pregnant decreases. Only 1 percent of teenagers are infertile while a large majority of infertile couples are in their thirties.’ It is well documented that from 0l!-r teen years when the last thing we wanted was a child to our mid thirties when we finally secure enough to start our family, our ability to conceive decreases almost twenty-five fold.

Research shows that in the past 30 years infertility has increased and those over 30 have the most problems. If you are in your thirties and have been working hard to establish your self in you profession, and are now just casually reading this magazine because you are thinking ‘maybe in a few years I might like to start a family, you should realize that there is a 25 percent chance you will not be able to do so without medical intervention.

Other factors that may make it difficult for you to get pregnant include abnormal organs, immunological factors and other malfunctioning of the body system. The dramatic increase in infertility over the last 30 years has been blamed on various factors including the increase in sexually transmitted diseases, environmental pollution particularly inthe oil producing geographical zones, declining sperm counts from absorption of toxic substances, and even the increase tension and anxiety of modem life, but most importantly infertility is common in humans because the human reproductive system was never that efficient to begin with

Humans were never reproductively very efficient!

In all other animals except for humans, the desire to have sexual intercourse is timed to correspond exactly to that moment when the female is ovulating or producing eggs that can be fertilized. Take for instance the dog or the
rabbit. Once the female is ovulating she seeks out the male and after intercourse the female is usually pregnant with

Prof Oladapo Ashiru, IVF, IVF in Nigeria

Prof Oladapo Ashiru

multiple pregnancies. Human however, desire to have sex at any time regardless of whether there is an egg that can
be fertilized in the woman’s in the animal kingdom and it makes us productively more inefficient than other animals

We know that in all species, there is a very short window, in fact, a matter of days during each month that the
female is fertile and can get pregnant with intercourse. The timing of sex is therefore very important if a species is to have an efficient and high fertility rate.

In humans, women go through a period of fourteen days when the follicle in the ovary develops. This starts from day one of the menstruation until the egg is sufficiently matured and ready for ovulation. Once the egg. is released at ovulation, there is another fourteen-day period that the egg can be fertilized if intercourse occurs at the right time. Then the embryo grows and implants in the uterus, or “womb”. If intercourse occurs at another time other than
the ovulation period, it is very unlikely that the woman will get pregnant