BBC- Ask our fertility specialistPosted on Wed, 16 Feb, 2011
As the BBC's Africa Live debates childlessness, Dr Joseph Mainoo of the Pro Vita Specialist Hospital in Ghana and Dr Tunde Ogunyemi of the Lister Fertility Clinic in London, answer your questions on infertility.
According to research, one in five Africans has fertility problems. In a continent where the majority of people are poor, few can afford modern methods of treatment.
Gynaecologist and obstetrician, Dr Mainoo, pioneered In vitro Fertilisation (IVF) in Ghana in 1996. He believes that more couples are changing their attitudes with the realisation that infertility can affect both men and women.
Dr Tunde Ogunyemi has been a fertility specialist with the Assisted Conception Unit at The Lister Hospital since 1995. He believes that prevention is key to avoiding some of the preventable infections that affect fertility.
Use the form to send your questions on infertility and how to cope with it to Dr Mainoo and Dr Ogunyemi.
What is the cost of IVF in Ghana? Andrew, U.S.A
The drugs cost about 1500 US dollars and also about 1500 US dollars for treatment. If the person is older than 45 years, then she would need to go to a donor protocol which would cost more. This means that she would need to pay someone to donate eggs for her. She would also need to pay for the cost of the drugs for the donor. Donor protocol costs about 2000 US dollars. Donors can be anonymous or the person's sister or cousin.
What nutrients should men pay attention to in order to ensure their own fertility? Graeme, Germany
This is a contentious area. There aren't any specific nutrients we know that can improve male fertility but there are lots of substances that are helpful in the production of sperm. However you should obtain these from a normal diet but a urologist will sometime recommend zinc and vitamin C in particular. Most people should get enough of this in their normal diet and shouldn't require specific supplementation.
I have been having trying to impregnate my wife for 2 years now with no success, I have done a sperm count and she has taken several tests and all are normal. I am 35 and my wife is 32. What do you suggest before we start the expensive procedure of IVF and so forth? Hussein, USA
This is an unexplained infertility. Before going for IVF, you should have a sperm count and semen culture and your wife should have a hormonal test as well as the LH test. These are very basic tests which should take place between day 3 and 6 of the her menstrual cycle. With these tests we would know if she had enough ovarian reserve. There are people who are very young who don't have ovarian reserve. This would determine whether she is in a position to produce her own eggs and also what kind of protocol she would need to go through.
My wife and I have been trying for three years to have a child but it seems impossible. What kind of advice can you give to us. Magolera, USA.
If you have been trying for three years or longer the chances of subsequently conceiving on your own without help is less than five percent. Therefore what I would suggest is that you get a full evaluation for both of you from a gynaecologist. You should have a semen analysis, and your wife should have an ultra-sound scan with a basic hormone profile as a minimum.
I had a hernia operation on my left testicle when I was seven. My right testicle was later removed when I was 20 due to cancer. I am 30 now. My question is: can it be possible to descend my left testicle to enable me be fertile again? Mario, Guinea Bissau
It might be possible, depending on the condition of the remaining testicle. You can sometimes obtain sperm from a testicle that isn't completely descended but it is one of the most difficult situations because the temperature within the body cavity is not conducive to sperm production. It may be that in the long term your best option would be for your partner to be treated with donor sperm.
Source: BBC World Service