Lessons learned from infertility investigations in the public sector
AbstractObjectives. To determine the main factors causing infertility in an urban, tertiary hospital population. To establish if any such major causal factor could be used to rationalise and improve the service for infertile couples in the public sector.
Design. A retrospective analysis of the hospital records of 206 women who had a tubal patency test (hysterosalpingogram) performed and the results of the investigations performed in the couples with infertility.
Results. Of the 206 women 38 (18.5%) had normal fallopian tubes on hysterosalpingogram; 33 (16%) had unilateral obstruction and 135 (65.5%) had bilateral tubal obstruction. Of the latter group 81 (60%) had significant hydrosalpinges. Semen analysis results in 148 partners (71.8%) demonstrated a normal count in 85 (62%), normal motility in 70 (51%) and normal morphology in only 25 (18%). Testing for ovulation (mid-luteal phase progesterone) was positive in 91 of 124 women tested (73%). Compliance, technical and logistical problems were encountered with both semen analysis and mid-luteal phase progesterone tests.
Conclusions. Infertility is a major problem in South Africa, with limited resources for investigation and treatment in the public sector. Tubal factor infertility was the most common cause of infertility demonstrated in this study. In the presence of bilateral tubal obstruction with hydrosalpinges the prognosis is so poor that unless assisted reproductive techniques are available and affordable, further infertility investigations do not seem justified. Recommendations on an approach to the infertile couple in the public sector is outlined.
Copyright remains in the Author’s name. The work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial Works License. Authors are required to complete and sign an Author Agreement form that outlines Author and Publisher rights and terms of publication. The Agreement form should be uploaded along with other submissions files and any submission will be considered incomplete without it [forthcoming].
Material submitted for publication in the SAMJ is accepted provided it has not been published or submitted for publication elsewhere. Please inform the editorial team if the main findings of your paper have been presented at a conference and published in abstract form, to avoid copyright infringement. The SAMJ does not hold itself responsible for statements made by the authors.
Previously published images
If an image/figure has been previously published, permission to reproduce or alter it must be obtained by the authors from the original publisher and the figure legend must give full credit to the original source. This credit should be accompanied by a letter indicating that permission to reproduce the image has been granted to the author/s. This letter should be uploaded as a supplementary file during submission.