Infertility preventable, treatable ― Oguntoyinbo, Unilorin don

InfertilityA Professor of Clinical Radiology at the University of Ilorin, Adewale Oguntoyinbo, has said that many of the causes of infertility are either preventable or treatable if appropriately investigated.

Delivering 181st inaugural lecture of the University, entitled “Delay is not denial: invisible made visible, giving hope to the hopeless through medical imaging in management of female infertility”, Professor Oguntoyinbo said that there is a synergy between divinity and humanity.

He said that when the country’s scientific knowledge or successes are divinely initiated or powered, their applications to human needs are better appreciated.

Defining infertility as “the inability of a couple (male/female unit) to achieve pregnancy after one year of regular unprotected sexual exposure”, Professor Oguntoyinbo said that “from the time I chose to specialise in radiology after graduation from Medical College, I have been driven by the need to overcome the limitations arising from non-visibility (undetectable nature) of major causes of diseases or structural damages produced in the human body by diseases and injuries”.

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“Adequate public enlightenment or education should be given to the populace in order to reduce or eliminate activities of quacks or charlatans in medical practice. Allowance must be made for wife and husband to work and live together through provision of more job opportunities and other incentives”.

Professor Oguntoyinbo advised intending couples with such a fear to take advantage of imaging evaluation, which, he said, makes the invisible visible, adding, “Infertility is a serious socio-medical problem in our setting. Reports suggest that fear of infertility in both single and married couples may be the reason for low contraceptive use in Nigeria”.

Challenging stakeholders, the inaugural lecturer urged patients, relations and religious leaders to “be hopeful and stay within the ethical/medical provision available for each case, be more tolerant with infertile couples as patience is a virtue in such cases and allow their followers to benefit from up to date medical facilities while praying for and with them respectively”.

He said that many of the causes of infertility are either preventable or treatable if appropriately investigated, adding that infertility cases are not due to evil work or satanic attacks or angry gods but due to causes which can only be identified or made visible through medical imaging and must be recognised as such.

“For instance, bilateral tubal blockage can only be confirmed through imaging”, Professor Oguntoyinbo said, adding that there is no way a woman can know if her tubes are blocked unless a form of imaging is done.

The don, however explained that “on the other hand, where the reproductive tract or the tubes are found to be normal, imaging studies such as Trans-vaginal scan to access the ovary (Follicular activities) can be done”, adding that “the cutting edge is to investigate early once there is a delay in conception because delay is not denial; there is hope for all women of child-bearing age to have children”.

The Professor of Clinical Radiology said that infertility is the commonest reason for gynaecological consultation, with multiple causation including disorders of ovulation, defects in the seminal fluid especially low sperm count, and anatomical abnormalities of the female genital tract, adding that it affects 10 % to 15% of couples, and affects older couples (especially with older female partners) more commonly.

He described the management of infertility as both partners responsibility, requires a team approach (Medical/Surgical/Radiological), with clinicians that follow the sequence of history, physical examination, laboratory and imaging Investigations critically evaluated and by initiating appropriate treatment measures or options.

“Infertility is a problem that involves both partners. Diagnostic testing is unnecessary if the couple has not attempted to conceive for at least one year. A complete infertility evaluation is performed according to the woman’s menstrual cycle and may take up to two menstrual cycles before the aetiology is determined”.

He said that since the discovery of X-ray in 1895 and its application in modern medical practice coupled with the use of other medical imaging modalities or devices, problems involving the human body are better managed or treated.

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