Tropical Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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Fertility Profile Following Induced Abortion in Calabar, Nigeria

Asukwo D. Ekanem, Saturday J. Etuk, Edem J. Udoma, Imaobong A. Ekanem


Context: The incidence of induced abortion in Nigeria is high. Pelvic infection as a complication of this abortion is also common and with the rising prevalence of infertility in the population, there is a need to assess the impact of induced abortions on fertility in our women.

Objective: To establish the impact of induced abortion on the fertility rate of women in Calabar.

Design and Setting: Cross sectional descriptive study in Calabar, an urban community on the eastern flank of Nigeria's Atlantic coast.

Subjects and Methods: Women seeking gynaecological, antenatal and family planning services who gave their informed consent were recruited. Those of them who gave a history of induced abortion were interviewed in-depth. Their demographic characteristics and detailed information about their abortion history such as number of abortions, sites where the abortions were performed, the personnel providing the abortion services and complications arising from the abortions were obtained.

Results: Some 242 (40.3%) of the study subjects had undergone at least one induced abortion. The commonest late complications of induced abortion were secondary infertility (42.1%) and chronic pelvic infection (36.0%). Only 48.3% of the women who had induced abortions maintained their fertility while the remainder suffered secondary infertility ranging from three to eighteen years in duration. The fertility rate decreased with increasing number of abortions.

Conclusion: Induced abortion is a major factor in the high prevalence of secondary infertility in Calabar. Training of medical practitioners on post-abortion care may help to ameliorate the burden of secondary infertility in Nigeria.

Key Words: Abortion, Pregnancy Termination, Fertility, Infertility

[Trop J Obstet Gynaecol, 2003, 20: 89-92]
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