Author(s): Larsen U
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Abstract BACKGROUND: No previous study has provided national estimates of the prevalence of primary and secondary infertility in sizeable areas of sub-Saharan Africa. METHODS: Primary infertility is measured by the proportion childless among women who entered their first marriage at least 7 years before date of censoring. Secondary infertility is measured by the 'subsequently infertile estimator' from parous ever-married women. Exposure begins at the age of the woman at the birth of her first child, and exposure ends when the woman is of an age, which is 5 years lower than her age at censoring. These last 5 years are used to determine her status as infertile or fertile at the last observation 5 years before censoring. A woman is considered infertile at last observation if she has had no livebirths during the last 5 years before censoring, otherwise she is considered fertile. A woman who has not given birth at age a or later is defined as being 'infertile subsequent to age a'. The index of the proportion subsequently infertile at age a is estimated as the number of women infertile subsequent to age a, divided by the total number of women observed at that age. Infertility is estimated for women age 20-44. RESULTS: Primary infertility is relatively low and it exceeds 3\% in less than a third of the 28 African countries analysed. In contrast, elevated levels of secondary infertility prevail in most countries. Secondary infertility for women age 20-44 ranges from 5\% in Togo to 23\% in Central African Republic. CONCLUSIONS: It is feasible to gauge national levels of primary and secondary infertility from population based surveys including a birth history. The prevalence of infertility of pathological origin is so high in sub-Saharan Africa that infertility is not merely an individual concern, it is a public health problem.
This article was published in Int J Epidemiol
and referenced in Andrology-Open Access