12 Feb Sexual and Reproductive Health Day
This year’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Day serves as a reminder that engaging in an open dialogue around this topic will always be worth it. Our goal with this blog article is to empower individuals to take charge of their fertility journey, and to promote the reproductive health needs of both women and men.
At Reproclinic, we believe in a holistic approach to fertility, which is why we consider not only successful outcomes, but also your overall well-being. We believe that your journey to motherhood is much more than just a medical procedure; it’s about you feeling empowered, informed, understood and supported. And it is precisely because we believe in all these things that we provide top-notch medical care to those who need it, at an accessible rate, while also providing guidance and support every step of the way.
So, let’s start with a definition of sexual and reproductive health. In most cases, what’s meant by that is the ability to lead a healthy and fulfilling sexual life while also being able to reproduce.
It’s also essential to recognize the interconnection between sexual and reproductive health. A healthy sex life not only contributes to improved intimacy and stronger emotional bonds, but it also plays a pivotal role in reproductive health. And here it’s important to mention that reproductive health encompasses much more than mere family planning: it also extends to providing couples with a broad choice of modern fertility treatments, especially when they have exhausted all other methods of conception. In fact, the United Nations’ SDG target 3.7 specifically deals with this: it sets out to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive healthcare services, including family planning, information & education, by 2030. One of the indicators used to track this is the percentage of women of reproductive age who have their need for family planning satisfied with modern methods.
It goes without saying that to be in good sexual and reproductive health, individuals also need to be adequately informed about how to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections (STIs). You may have also heard about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), but do you know what’s the difference between them and STIs? It’s quite simple: infections are only called diseases when they cause symptoms; so, in this case, STIs are asymptomatic, whereas STDs are symptomatic.
Many people assume that they can get tested for STIs with a single sample, but that’s unfortunately not possible. Some genital infections require a urine sample, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, while others can only be detected in a blood sample, like hepatitis, herpes (HSV), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and syphilis. There’s also a third type of testing, namely, swab tests, which are used to detect human papillomavirus (HPV), trichomoniasis, molluscum contagiosum, and scabies.
The reason why we’re mentioning all of this is because STDs can affect both women’s and men’s fertility, either directly or indirectly. Especially when they’re left untreated, they can develop and spread to the uterus, ovaries, or fallopian tubes in women, whereas in men, they can impair semen’s motility, concentration, and morphology. Women with chlamydia, for example, are at greater risk of an ectopic pregnancy, a condition that proves to be fatal for the baby, and also poses a significant risk to the pregnant woman, as the embryo has implanted outside the womb, oftentimes resulting in the loss of her fallopian tube. On the other hand, women with syphilis have a 50% chance of miscarriage or stillbirth, which is why we’ve included it as one of the pre-treatment standard lab tests we perform at Reproclinic.
As we’ve established by now, people looking to start a family should ideally get tested for STDs not only for their own sake but to also avoid potentially passing them along to their future baby. The good news is that even in those cases where an STD has left a negative mark on either the woman’s or the man’s fertility, modern fertility treatments can still help these individuals become parents and have happy and healthy families. Seeking personalized guidance? Our team of experienced professionals at Reproclinic is here to respond to any doubts you may have regarding this topic and to elaborate a unique plan for your unique fertility journey. What are you waiting for? Contact us today and book your initial consultation with us, you won’t regret it!