Since the birth of Louis Brown on July 25th, 1978 through in vetro fertilization, assisted reproductive technology (ART) now is widely used for the treatment of both male and female infertility. Today globally almost 2 million ART cycles are performed every year. Although Africa constitutes 16% of the world population, yet its share of ART is much less than its fair share of 320,000 cycles per year. There are several barriers to the wide application of ART in Africa. These include epidemiological, geographic, financial, and socio-cultured barriers in addition to the health education barrier, restrictive health policy barrier and health systems barrier. In Africa there is an increasing demand for ART. Africa, like many parts in the world, is witnessing a changing life style which affects fertility. In Africa infertility is a medico-socio cultural problem with sex-based sufferings. Furthermore there is a higher prevalence of STIs and postpartum and postabortion infections which contributes to both male and female infertility. This coupled with the fact that treatment of infertility is a human right issue which should not be discriminated on economic, geographic, or racial basis, necessitates finding ways to overcome such disparity in the provision of ART for infertile patients in Africa. The paper discusses the various possible ways to improve availability and access to ART in Africa. The infertile couples in Africa should not suffer the health, psychological, and societal burden of infertility simply because others in the African continent reproduce too many. The 2030 SDGs agenda has envisaged a better future. One where we collectively tear down the barriers and correct disparities, focusing first on those left further behind.
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aInternational Islamic Center For Population Studies and Research, Al Azhar University
bThe Egyptian IVF&ET Center
cDepartment of Obst&Gynec, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt
Sponsorships or competing interests that may be relevant to content are disclosed at the end of this article.
Submitted during the IFFS International Symposium, Kampala, Uganda, March 1–2, 2018.
Published online 18 March 2019
Corresponding author. Address: International Islamic Center For Population Studies and Research, Al Azhar University, Cairo 1200, Egypt. Tel.: +(202) 25755869; fax: +(202) 25754271. E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org (G.I. Serour).
Received August 9, 2018
Accepted September 11, 2018