Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) for Study Session 12

Now that you have completed this study session, you can assess how well you have achieved its Learning Outcomes by answering these questions. Write your answers in your Study Diary and discuss them with your Tutor at the next Study Support Meeting. You can check your answers with the Notes on the Self-Assessment Questions at the end of this Module.

SAQ 12.1 (tests Learning Outcomes 12.1 and 12.2)

Is infertility more common in women or men?


Both men and women are affected by infertility: about 40–60% of causes are linked to female factors and 20–40% are related to male factors.

SAQ 12.2 (tests Learning Outcome 12.2)

List two types of infertility and explain the meaning of each type.


Primary infertility is when the couple have never had children, or have been unable to achieve pregnancy after one year of living together and having unprotected sexual intercourse.

Secondary infertility is when a couple who already have children, or have achieved pregnancy previously, are unable to conceive after one year of having unprotected sexual intercourse.

SAQ 12.3 (tests Learning Outcome 12.3)

List the causes of infertility in men and women.



  • Problems of sperm production
  • Blockage of sperm tube
  • Sexual problems.


  • Ovulation disorders
  • Blockage of the uterine tube
  • Disorders of the uterus, cervix and vagina.

SAQ 12.4 (tests Learning Outcome 12.3)

Can you describe the main factors associated with male and female infertility?


  • The age of both men and women is important. Fertility decreases as age increases, particularly for women.
  • Having less opportunities for sex due to, for example, polygamy.
  • Having multiple sexual partners, which increases exposure to STIs. (STIs can lead to blockage of the uterine tube in women, or spermatic cord in men).
  • Excessive alcohol can have an inhibitive effect on sexual drive.
  • Chronic malnutrition. Starvation can result in the absence of menstruation, and it also reduces a couple’s desire to have sexual intercourse frequently.

SAQ 12.5 (tests Learning Outcomes 12.2, 12.3, 12.4, 12.5 and 12.6)

Ato Belay comes to you and tells you he has married three wives, but had no children yet. When you take his medical history from him, you find out he had mumps during late adolescence.

  • a.What are your initial thoughts about his problem?
  • b.What treatment would you suggest?
  • c.How would you counsel Ato Belay?


  • a.Ato Belay may have a primary infertility problem, possibly caused by mumps, which could have caused his testes to become shrunken and so fail to produce normal sperm.
  • b.Explain that the mumps infection may have caused damage to his testes, where sperm are produced. As a result, it is possible he may not be able to fertilise the women’s eggs.
  • c.Tell him as gently as you can that you will be referring him to the hospital/health centre for tests.

Summary of Study Session 12