What you need to know:
- In 2017, a study by the Harvard Medical School revealed that deep sea fish tend to contain the highest levels of mercury as a result of consuming small fish.
- The study went ahead to warn consumers against eating large fish such as shark, swordfish, tilefish and King Mackerel.
Consumption of large fish could lead to infertility among men and women, medical experts have warned.
According to the Secretary General of International Federation of Fertility Societies Oladapo Ashiru, large fish have been found to contain heavy metals that can lead to infertility.
In 2017, a study by the Harvard Medical School revealed that deep sea fish tend to contain the highest levels of mercury as a result of consuming small fish. The study went ahead to warn consumers against eating large fish such as shark, swordfish, tilefish and King Mackerel.
“Couples trying to conceive should avoid eating large fish since they contain heavy metals that can result in infertility,” said Dr Ashiru.
The health expert said consumption of these aquatic animals has been identified as the source of new forms of infertility.
Prof Ashiru also warned women against driving cars barefoot. “When driving barefoot, the pedals on which women place their feet absorb heavy metals that are likely to cause miscarriages or prevent implantation.”
Prof Ashiru, who also serves as president of African Reproductive Care Societies said that while practicing healthy eating and drinking habits, men should also avoid eating canderel sweetener since it reduces their sperm count.
According to the professor of Anatomy and Reproductive Endocrinology, infertility is preventable with improved awareness on the causes of the condition.
The World Health Organization describes infertility as a disease of the male and female reproductive system that is defined by failure to achieve pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.
“We have underscored sexually transmitted diseases as one of the causes of infertility and advocate for abstinence or use of protection, however there are new forms of infertility that demand for awareness creation,” said Prof Ashiru.
He was speaking during the 10th Edition of Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary 2023 held in Mumbai, India on October 18 and 19, 2023.
The event held both in person and virtually, was attended by over 6,000 participants from more than 70 countries in Africa and Asia.
“The aim of the event is for health experts to meet and discuss health challenges in their countries in order to contribute to improving access to quality and equitable health care solutions,” said Senator Dr Rashja Kelej, Chief Executive Officer, Merck Foundation.
The event that also attracted first ladies from 11 African countries was also meant to discuss health care capacity building and breaking infertility stigma.
Merck Foundation, a non-government organisation, was established in 2017 with the aim of building health care and media capacity, breaking infertility stigma, empowering childless women, supporting girl child education and raising awareness on a wide range of social health issues.
“The foundation has provided more than 1,700 scholarships to young doctors from 50 countries in 42 critical and underserved specialties,” said Dr Kelej.
“We are making history in Africa by training the first fertility specialist, embryologist and oncologist,” she added.
Also present was the former Minister of Health, Uganda Sarah Opendi who said that for much too long, infertility was linked to witchcraft and curses, which prompts women to seek pregnancy outside wedlock and even leaves some wide open to STDs.
She noted that due to awareness creation, the demand for fertility services in the country is on the rise with facilities offering the services increasing from five to 15.
“Quite a number of people do not know that the condition can be reversed, our major challenge now is the high cost of the services,” she said.