The Challenge Of Infertility As A Public Health Issue

Health & Fitnessby Mashum Mollah06 August 2021

Infertility

Public health issues involve reproductive health issues as an integral component. Issues such as sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancies, infertility, abuse of children and women as well, and several other essential aspects demand significant authorities to overcome these challenges.

The question is why reproductive health issues are considered public health issues. And the answer is that the cause of many reproductive health issues is psychosocial. Both the treatment and prevention of such issues are possible by a better insight into them.

Over the last two decades, the aim of family planning has shifted from using contraception and the prevention of pregnancy to helping couples achieve pregnancy. Infertility is a condition in which a couple cannot conceive after one year of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.

Millions of people around the globe are struggling with this condition and dealing with its health and societal aspects. Some of those aspects involve; physical and mental health issues, financial pressure, social humiliation, increased domestic violence, and marital instability. These aspects transform infertility from a potentially private, individualized health problem into social suffering. While there are equal chances for men and women to be infertile, the societal burden of not being fertile is often on women.

Research And Development

Development

Since we’ve identified infertility as a public health issue with a worldwide impact that can’t be avoided, there will be a need for public health graduates from all over the world. It’s also worth noting that public health education is not universally available, particularly in low-to-middle-income nations, where infertility is most prevalent.

However, with MPH programs online, now people around the globe can participate in world-class public health education. MPH programs help research developing countries to ensure innovative solutions for infertility that are safe, cost-effective, and accessible. With the advent of the virtual system, education has become more accessible.

Access To Medical Care

Development

According to studies on the need for infertility medical treatment, the proportion of infertile couples seeking medical care is slightly more than 50% on average. It ranges from 27 to 76 percent in different nations. The study concludes that approximately only 40.5 million currently infertile women.

Out of the estimated, 72.4 million women will seek medical care to manage their infertility. Infertility treatment varies by patient. With ovulation, medication therapy being the most common, and in vitro fertilization is the least common. Data for assisted reproductive technology (ART) utilization are readily available as compared to other treatments.

Obstacles To Quality Care

Apart from some infertile couples who choose not to seek medical treatment for their problem, many cannot receive it due to various factors. Other factors that hinder seeking help include discrimination from medical practitioners, limitations for the required time to pursue treatment, and psychosocial barriers, such as stigma.

These biases show that only middle and upper-class couples in urban areas can use clinical services. While working-class couples, minorities, and those from remote areas cannot. Multiple benefits can be achieved like improved and safe use of the technologies, reduced use of harmful treatments, and increased first-birth rates by improving access and coverage for infertility treatment.

1. Topographic Convenience

There is a global rise in the number of institutes offering ART services. Despite this increase, many infertile couples are unable to have access to such facilities. The reason for this inaccessibility is regional disparities. In both developing and developed countries, there are considerable disparities in rural-urban access to ART services.

It causes couples with infertility in rural regions to travel to urban areas or to sacrifice these services entirely. The establishment of ART facilities in developing countries has significant barriers due to its high-tech nature. And the necessary training needed by the practitioner (which is not available in the developing country). Also, there are fewer or no male infertility experts in some places.

2. Financial Burden

In areas where infertility care facilities are accessible, the exorbitant cost of these services typically prevents people from using them.

ART is an expensive procedure with varying costs between countries. Most countries have a price for a single cycle of ART within the range of $1,000–$6,000. Most countries offer financial assistance for this health care facility. Still, in some countries, even with financial aid, the expense is unattainable.

In estimation, it is concluded that a 10% decrease in costs would result in a 30% increase in the utilization of ART facilities. It shows the impact of price on access to ART services. Not all couples with infertility need to require ART. In some cases, lower-cost options which require less trained staff can be availed for managing infertility.

3. Governing Restrictions

Certain countries have some policies and regulations that restrict access to ART services. Governing authorities enforce these limitations, including federal legislation, municipal rules, professional organization mandates, cultural practices, or religious degrees.

Conclusion

Public Health requires renewed attention and efforts to address infertility. Significant disparities in infertility and fertility care have been evident within and between countries due to substantial topographic, financial, social, and governing barriers. Mostly, women face blame and consequences of infertility, which is discriminating itself. Stigma experienced due to infertility by men and women has a significant contribution in worsening gender inequities, keeping the silence around the issue, and holding back from quality care and support.

There are still gaps in our understanding of the prevalence, causes, and consequences of infertility. These gaps are the results of the long-term omission of infertility within community health and research. To bridge these gaps, more quality Public Health research and efforts are necessary for infertility that will assist other community issues like contraception, spontaneous miscarriage, pre-term birth, and sexually transmitted diseases.

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Mashum Mollah

Mashum Mollah is the man behind TheDailyNotes. He loves sharing his experiences on popular sites- Mashum Mollah, Blogstellar.com etc.

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