Doctors at Andrology and Infertility Hospital in Hanoi test samples to determine why couples are infertile
Around half of infertile couples in Vietnam are under 30, according to an obstetrics and gynecology survey discussed in Hanoi Saturday.
The Starting Families Asia survey, which polled 1,000 women in 10 Asian countries who had been trying to conceive for at least six months, indicated that infertility has been a problem in Vietnam for even younger couples as well.
It said low infertility awareness among many women prevents them from seeking treatment.
Infertility is defined by the World Health Organization as the inability to conceive after a year of regular, unprotected sex.
Vice Ministry of Health Nguyen Viet Tien said at the meeting, citing the survey, that many Vietnamese women know little about obstetric health, with 44 percent believing fertility is a matter of God's will or bad luck. Women in the other surveyed countries responded similarly at about the same rate.
Thirty percent of the Vietnamese women surveyed could not name the nearest facility capable of treating infertility.
High cost is also a problem for 69 percent of the Vietnamese women surveyed, although it is between five and seven times cheaper than in many countries.
The survey concluded that just 30 percent of infertile Vietnamese couples under 30 receive treatment.
Le Thi Kim Dung, an ob-gyn doctor in Hanoi, told Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper that one reason for infertility among younger Vietnamese is that girls are having sex at earlier ages when they do not know how to protect themselves, which result in abortions including unsafe ones, which cause problems conceiving later on.
The survey, commissioned by Merck Serono, a German pharmaceutical company, in collaboration with PC Wong at the National University Hospital's Women's Center in Singapore, found infertility awareness was low among women throughout Asia.
It found 62 percent of women did not suspect they had fertility problems, and they were even less likely to point the finger at their husbands, with 80 percent of them not suspecting that their partners may be sterile.
Forty-three percent did not know a man may be infertile if he could achieve an erection and 73 percent were unaware that men who had mumps after puberty might be infertile.
Dr. Wong said the low awareness causes couples to seek treatment when it's already too late.
"That's a lost opportunity because even if they come for treatment, our success of treatment is higher with younger women," said Wong, who heads the reproductive endocrinology and infertility division at the hospital, Reuters reported.
He said chances of success with in-vitro fertilization "” the best known fertility treatment "” is 40-50 percent for women under 30, but that the figure drops to 10 percent for women over 40. By 44-45, the chance of success is just one percent.
The survey polled couples in China, India, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia. Later, a similar survey is expected to poll Asian men.
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