It’s Men’s Health Month in June, and while the spotlight shines on men this month, they are often left out of the infertility conversation. Male factor infertility is now at 50% globally – and the number of men experiencing infertility has been rising rapidly.
Recent research by Technavio has shown that this is in part due to increased longevity. There are now more men over 50 than ever before and men are waiting longer to start their families, leading to age-related fertility complications.
Thanks to a rise in accessible information (just one click of a smartphone away) men are also starting to recognise and self-diagnose the symptoms of their own infertility. Added to this, men are more likely to respond to fertility challenges and more men are seeking medical solutions than previously.
Cultural taboos are hard to shake however, and men from developing countries are still inclined to cling to silence and denial about their infertility, allowing their female partners to face public blame for their own condition.
Economics are often the deciding factor in whether men from developing countries will seek treatment for infertility. Although the high costs of treatment are out of reach for many, growing numbers of men from China, South America, Central Asia and Africa are now able to afford treatment for fertility problems thanks to an increase in their disposable income.
The disparity between a growing demand for infertility treatment and a lack of medical solutions in developing countries has also led to a new form of medical tourism. Says Wijnland Fertility Clinic’s owner, Dr Johannes van Waart, “We see many patients from East Africa in particular, where the medical infrastructure has not yet caught up with a wave of new patients seeking IVF treatment.” Specialist healthcare in South Africa is amongst the best in the world so it is no wonder that patients are flocking to our clinics and the reward is we can help many through what would otherwise be a debilitating problem.