Diseases That Lead To Female Infertility
Pam Stenzel has a unique way of teaching teens the dangers of STD's. She asks them to imagine a man on his hands and knees offering an engagement ring to a woman, asking her to be his wife. But there's a catch: he also has to let her know that he's got several different types of sexually transmitted diseases (STD's) that might make her infertile. He got these STD's while engaging in premarital sex, back when he was in high school.
Stenzel can rattle off six STD's that can bring on female infertility and as she does so, it's as if you can see light bulbs going on over the heads of the eighth graders in her audience. The popular lecturer tells the kids that having sex outside of marriage can have some dire consequences. She tells them that the only way to make sure you stay free of disease is to have just one partner.
Stenzel used to counsel Chicago area teenaged girls at a pregnancy crisis center but at some point, had an epiphany that these pregnant teens hadn't learned all the facts before deciding to become sexually active. "I grew tired of all the girls telling me that no one told them what happens when they decide to become sexually active," Stenzel explained. "I want you to have all the information before making that decision."
The ardent lobbyist for teen abstinence tells her listeners about the psychological, emotional, and physical drawbacks to engaging in sex before adulthood. Kids worry about becoming pregnant, but have sex anyway. What they don't worry about are sexually transmitted diseases, which are a significant factor in the current epidemic of infertility.
Stenzel tells her young audience that there are more than 30 known STD's and that 24 of them can cause female infertility. The most contagious STD is also the most common one, the human Papillomavirus. This virus is a known cause of cervical cancer, and this disease necessitates a radical hysterectomy, ending the possibility of children, forever. Stenzel reiterates that the only way to remain healthy is to engage in sexual relations only within the confines of a permanent relationship that is monogamous.
Pam Stenzel's mother was 15 years old when she gave birth to Pam and subsequently put her up for adoption. Stenzel counseled teens in pregnancy crisis centers in Minneapolis and Chicago for nine years. During that time, the pregnant girls told her that no one had thought to tell them what would happen to them if they had sex before marriage. Pam became aware that teens were making this kind of very adult decision—to have sex or not—without any idea of the ramifications of the act.
Brenham Junior High School's principal, Artis Edwards lauded Stenzel, "She made an impact. They have a lot of information and reasons to make them think that waiting is important."