Infertility is a common issue in Nigeria, affecting 25% of couples. In simple terms, it happens when a man and woman find it hard to get pregnant (conceive) after a year (or longer) of unprotected sex. According to CDC UK, one or more of the following steps in the pregnancy process is affected:

  • The release of an egg from one of a woman’s ovaries
  • The joining (fertilization) of the man’s sperm with the egg
  • The movement of the egg to the uterus (womb) through the fallopian tube
  • The attachment (implantation) of the egg on the uterus wall

Over the years, many myths and misconceptions have emerged about infertility in Nigeria. Maybe you have heard, or even believed, a few. Let’s shed some light and debunk them once and for all.

Myth 1: Infertility happens when a couple “try too hard” to get pregnant, or don’t try well enough

 Medical conditions like endometriosis and blockage of the fallopian tube can cause infertility. That’s why conception can’t be linked to the intensity of a sexual performance.

 Myth 2: Only women can be infertile

 Actually, both men and women can experience infertility. In fact, studies show that in 50% of infertile couples, the cause is linked to the male partner alone or the male and female partners. Men can experience low sperm count in some cases, affecting fertility. This is why both partners are usually advised to visit medical personnel if they find it difficult to get pregnant.

Myth 3: You can never have a biological child if you are infertile

Many couples go ahead to have children after successful fertility treatments. These treatments range from surgeries for conditions like endometriosis to assisted conception and medical treatment of ovulation issues.

Myth 4: STDs only affect health and not fertility

STDs have been known to cause scarring in the male reproductive structures as well as lead to pelvic inflammatory diseases in women. Both problems lead to infertility.

Myth 5: Legs have to be lifted to help sperm mobility

Some people believe that if a woman lifts her legs after sex, slightly tilting her pelvis, this would “help” gravity push sperm-swimmers towards her eggs. While this may sound logical, remember that sperm is chemically programmed to reach their target. Lying horizontally makes more sense, preventing semen leaks.

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