Prevalence of Subfertility and Infertility

Subfertility and infertility affect between 8% and 12% of couples of reproductive age — approximately 200 million globally.2

The cultural preference for high fertility in many sub-Saharan African societies results in a negative perception of subfertility and infertility.

In sub-Saharan Africa, subfertility varies by country, with a prevalence between 9% and 30%.3

A survey of women age 20 to 44 years from 28 African countries showed a 5% to 23% prevalence of secondary infertility (failure to conceive after previously giving birth).4

The associated socioeconomic and psychological consequences of delayed conception or failure to conceive are significant,5 particularly in Africa, where cultural and social views substantially burden women. Families expect pregnancies after marriage, and couples unable to achieve this often experience social disapproval.

Women may be insulted, discriminated against, stigmatized, or abandoned. The financial burden of seeking help or treatment may cause stress, anxiety, and depression. Sometimes the consequence is marriage breakdown.6

Note: References are listed at the end of the course.

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