Introduction: Infertility is the inability of a couple to achieve pregnancy within 12 months of sexual intercourse without the use of contraceptives. The Pakistani population, belonging to a low-middle income country, has a high prevalence of infertility due to a low knowledge and awareness regarding its causes, and lack of healthcare-seeking behavior for this medical issue. The prevalence of infertility in Pakistan is reported as 22%, with primary infertility accounting for 4% of the total cases. This leads to psychological trauma among women as societal norms equate infertility with failure on a personal, emotional, and social level. In this study, we aimed to assess among this population the general awareness regarding infertility and its causes; and identify any key knowledge gaps pertaining to the subject.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out between June 2019 and November 2019, at a public hospital (Civil Hospital Karachi) in Karachi, Pakistan. Convenience sampling technique was used to collect data from adult participants (older than 18 years) via an interview-administered questionnaire. The questionnaire was based on the Cardiff Fertility Knowledge Scale (CFKS) and assessed the knowledge regarding causes of infertility such as smoking, healthy lifestyle, contraceptives, genital tract infections among others. We also determined the association between socio-demographic variables with mean knowledge scores. Data were analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS), version 20.0.
Results: The majority of the participants were married (n=342, 68.8%) and more than half were unemployed (n=259, 52.1%). Approximately, two-quarters (n=250, 50.3%) did not believe that equal proportions of males and females contribute to infertility. The mean knowledge score of our study population was 12.95 ± 2.48 points. An overwhelming proportion of the participants (n=326, 65.6%) falsely believed that the usage of the intra-uterine device contributes to infertility. Additionally, more than half of the responders (n=278, 55.9%) incorrectly believed that a male achieving erection is an indication of fertility. Education (p=0.019), vehicle ownership (p=0.018), and marital status (p=0.031) were the only demographic factors that showed significant differences with mean knowledge scores.
Conclusion: Awareness regarding the causes of infertility among the general population was found to be inadequate. Emphasis on targeted fertility education, in association with general public awareness programs regarding its causes and risk factors may help mitigate this problem by potentially reducing the prevalence of this condition, and increasing the number of affected individuals who seek medical care in a timely fashion.
Ahmed, H. M.,
Hasan, C. A.
(2020). Awareness regarding causes of infertility among out-patients at a tertiary care hospital in Karachi, Pakistan. Cureus, 12(4), e7685.
Available at: https://ecommons.aku.edu/pakistan_fhs_mc_med_intern_med/149
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