An obstetrics and gynaecology specialist has demystified believes that women who use contraceptives run the risk of infertility, especially if they have not had children. Dr Shonag Mackenzie, a senior lecturer at the University of Namibia’s Health Sciences campus, clarified in a recent interview with New Era that some women who use contraceptives end up being infertile not because of the use of contraception over a long period of time but rather “having sex young”. “The more you have sex without condoms, the more likely you are to get sexual infections. The most common cause of infertility in Namibia is sexual infections,” said Mackenzie. If untreated, these infections end up affecting the woman’s fallopian tubes thus resulting in infertility. “If you use condoms very well all your life and you never get sexual infections even if you’ve been using contraception since the age of 14 you will be fertile,” said Mackenzie. In fact, some contraceptives actually improve fertility by stopping disease processes, added Mackenzie. Any of the contraceptives that stop a woman from releasing eggs decrease the woman’s risk of fibroids and endometriosis, two conditions that many women in their 20s and 30s suffer from in Namibia that can also cause infertility problems, explained Mackenzie. “Sometimes a woman will never know she’s got it [fibroids and endometriosis] until she’s older and trying to have a baby,” said Mackenzie. Many of the contraceptives used in state health facilities have the benefit of reducing a woman’s risk of fibroids and endometriosis, she added. Nevertheless, certain medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes make certain contraceptives unsuitable for women with these conditions, Mackenzie pointed out. However, all the contraceptives with progesterone such as injections, the implant and coils are suitable even for women with medical conditions, she highlighted. “But to get the right contraceptives for every single woman is an individual choice because what’s right for each of us is different,” Mackenzie said.
She also added: “The whole idea of clinics having different contraceptives is so that women can get one that suits them [women]. We don’t just want one contraceptive available in Namibia, we want different choices because women are different.”