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Dublin: 4°C Monday 19 April 2021
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'To discover you can't have children because of an STI you got when younger is just heart-breaking'

Chlamydia is the number one disease affecting a woman’s chance to conceive and it’s on the increase.

Image: infertility via Shutterstock

ONE IN SIX of us experience fertility problems and according to the National Infertility Support and Information Group (NISIG) – the figures are only set to rise.

The organisation is urging young people not to have unprotected sex as STD’s such as Chlamydia and Gonorrhea can leave people infertile.

Co-founder and chairperson of NISIG, Helen Browne, believes that Ireland will no doubt see an increase in the number of men and women struggling to conceive due to the increase in sexually transmitted diseases.

The amount of women struggling to conceive will begin to surge over the next few years due to STD’s and infections in the younger years.

“My concern especially applies to women and men in their 20’s who are contracting STD’s from unprotected sex.”

Chlamydia is the number one disease affecting a woman’s chance to conceive.

Data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre showed that there were 736 cases of chlamydia in the first six weeks of this year – that’s up by 142 cases compared to last year.

Advice

NISIG is recommending Chlamydia screening for all sexually active women aged 25 and under.

If left untreated there is a 10-15% chance that women could develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This disease most commonly develops in sexually active women between the ages of 15-24 years old. It’s the reason for 1 in 60 visits to GP’s by women under 45.

Chlamydia can also cause infections in the fallopian tube without any symptoms being shown, so women can go months with the disease untreated. This silent infection can lead to permanent damage to a woman’s uterus and fallopian tubes.

Browne said that:

Fertility problems and not being able to conceive a child can be mentally, physically and emotionally exhausting so for hopeful parents to only discover they can’t have children because of an STI they contracted at a younger age is absolutely heart-breaking’.

NISIG believes that more education is needed into this area “as young people, both male and female, don’t realise the risk and harm they are doing to themselves by contracting sexual transmitted diseases through unprotected sex”.

The organisation hold monthly support groups throughout the country offering advice, information and guidance for both men and women who are suffering from fertility issues.

Read: More research needed into possible link between infertility and mobile phones>

Read: Celebrities commended for highlighting their infertility problems>

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