Nepal’s migrant workers facing ‘alarming’ rate of fertility problems

Wednesday 25th October 2023 06:05 EDT

Kathmandu: Dozen of married couples sit in hope and anxiety outside the infertility section of the Paropakar Maternity and Women's hospital in Kathmandu. Although they hail from all around Nepal, many of them have one thing in common: the spouse has worked overseas for years, frequently in the Gulf.
Ramesh says he had no choice but to leave for work overseas to earn money for his extended family, but it has come at a price: a family of his own. He and his wife, Jyoti, had a daughter shortly after they married, but then he went to work as an electrician in Saudi Arabia for 16 years. Despite regular visits home, they have been unable to have another child.
Ramesh believes the years of working on construction sites in Saudi Arabia’s severe heat may have played a part. “The doctor told me my semen count may be too low to have a baby. It might be due to the temperatures there,” he says.
The couple have spent six years and 500,000 rupees (£3,080) visiting fertility clinics across the capital and say they are tired of answering questions from friends and family about why they don’t have more children. “It hurts me a lot. I can’t tell them what I’m going through,” says Jyoti.
On another bench nearby, Dorje, who spent 10 years working in Malaysia, seems to sum up the mood. “What’s the use of money, if you have no children?” he asks.

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