MANILA, Philippines — Fertility rates are declining globally, but it is happening at a faster rate in Asia than in other regions. In the Philippines, one in 10 Filipino couples are facing the challenge of conceiving a child.
A survey commissioned by pharmaceutical group Merck Serono and conducted by Synovate in 100 households in the Philippines revealed that one in 10 Filipino couples have infertility problems, and the breakdown in cities surveyed were: GMA(Greater Manila Area) 10.7 %; Cebu 3.8%; and Davao 5%.
Seven out of 10 patients consult with an obstetrician (OB/GYN) or fertility specialist about their condition, as driven by their desire to conceive a child, said Joy Mauricio, Biotech Unit Head of Merck Serono at a fertility awareness seminar held recently at F1 Hotel in Taguig City.
However, financial reasons (86%), time constraints (27%), and patient’s belief (17%) were cited as the reasons why some do not seek treatment.
As much as 15% of couples have difficulty conceiving, said Dr. Marc Anthony Ancheta, a consultant at the Medical City, and section chief of Reproductive Medicine, Infertility and Gynecologic Endoscopy.
Some 35 to 40 % of a couple’s inability to conceive a child are due to female factors such as ovulation problems; while the other 35 to 40% could be attributed to male factors, including sperm problems.
Some couples still experience the challenge of conceiving even after being tested and their respective factors remain normal, and this accounts for about 25%, Ancheta said.
There are also other factors that affect infertility such as: medical illnesses, previous surgery, lifestyle, among others, he added.
“Depending on what factors are causing infertility, specialists begin with the least invasive and most cost-effective way of getting couples pregnant,” he also said.
Merck Serono has put up a website dedicated about infertility, its causes and treatment at www.fertilityphilippines.com.
Other efforts include a series of lay fora conducted by Merck Serono in select cities across the country, Mauricio said.
The Fertility Awareness Week from August 25-31 is an awareness campaign endorsed by the Asia Pacific Reproduction and Philippine Society of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility in collaboration with Merck Serono to improve knowledge surrounding fertility and recognize the issue of infertility.
The weeklong event will feature a web congress, which will highlight the nature of infertility and treatment options available in the Philippines.