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Fertility on the decline – UN report

The average fertility rate in South Africa is on the decline, in line with global trends, and couples unable to conceive after a year of trying should seek help from a specialist, says a leading urogynaecologist.

A United Nations report notes that fertility rates in South Africa for 2020 are projected at an average 2.3 children per woman, slightly lower than the global average of about 2.5.

“Global fertility is projected to decline to 2.4 children per woman by 2030 and 2.2 children per woman by 2050,” notes the report.

Urogynaecologist, Dr Frances Paterson from The Urology Hospital, Pretoria, says research shows that up to 20% of South African couples struggle with infertility which affects both males and females almost equally.

Dr Paterson says couples should consult a Urogynaecologist if they’re unable to conceive after having regular unprotected sex for a year, or if a woman is unable to carry a baby to full term.

The World Health Organisation describes infertility as a “disease of the reproductive system, defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular, unprotected intercourse”.

There are often no obvious symptoms of infertility although some women may have irregular or absent menstrual periods. Men may display hormonal signs such as changes in hair growth or sexual function.

Some causes of infertility in women may include ovulation disorders, uterine or cervical abnormalities, fallopian tube damage or blockage, endometriosis, early menopause, pelvic adhesions and certain cancers and their treatment such as radiation and chemotherapy.

Causes in men may include increasing age, obesity, smoking, using addictive substances, radiation, nutrition, taking supplements and steroids, a high testicular temperature, infections and STIs, genital injuries and varicocoele (enlargement of veins in the scrotal sack).

“Infertility may often be successfully treated and couples struggling to fall pregnant should contact The Urology Hospital or consult an obstetrician, gynaecologist, urologist or urogynaecologist,”  added Dr Paterson.

For more information, contact 012 423-4000 or SMS the word INFO and your email address to 33000 (SMS charged at R1.50).

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What we Do

Urologists are highly trained specialist surgeons who use both medication and surgery as part of a comprehensive approach to care for men and women and children with urological problems. 

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How We Are Doing Our Part In The Fight Against COVID-19

The safety of our patients and colleagues is our number one priority. Your healthcare is important to us and we are actively working with and following guidance from the National Department of Health and the NICD (National Institute for Communicable Diseases).

Kindly note the hospital has set up a Covid-19 task team and contingency plan and we are preparing for all eventualities.

Please confirm with your Doctor if you are still able to come for your consultation. However, if you have any of the following signs and symptoms then please cancel your appointment, self-isolate and contact the centralised helpline on 0800 029 999:
• Fever
• Cough
• Shortness of Breath

To support screening for COVID-19, before entering the hospital, all prospective patients will adhere to the following:
• Complete a Travel History form
• Undergo temperature screening

Should any of the following signs or symptoms be found, you will be requested to go home, self-isolate and contact the centralised helpline on 0800 029 999:
• Flu-like symptoms (sore throat, cough or chills)
• Fever of 37.8 or above

NB: Please notify the person doing your Travel History if you’re:
• Over 70
• Have any underlying health conditions
• Are pregnant

To protect our patients and staff from the potential risk of COVID-19, we are currently restricting visiting of patients to exceptional circumstances only.

We appreciate your understanding and co-operation.

Should you need to re-arrange an appointment at the Urology Hospital please call: 012 423 4000 or your Doctor’s rooms.

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