Infertility is currently a major topic in India and worldwide. Much as India is known for its high population globally, it is quite puzzling to digest the fact that India has a fertility rate of 2.4 births per woman according to the latest statistics.
With a population growth of 1.2% annually, there isn’t any guarantee that India’s future is safe. The matter of species depletion isn’t about the wildlife alone, human beings must also be concerned due to the fact that male and female infertility is on the rise.
Just like many other African countries, infertility in India is commonly attributed to women, subjecting them to a social stigma filled with embarrassments and depression.
However, Infertility in the actual sense affects many males, though disguised and silent in nature. We have probably read a lot the various causes of female infertility and most of us are well acquainted with it, but what about male infertility?
What is Male Infertility?
Male Infertility is a type of infertility that affects males rendering them unable to procreate. Much as a man may ejaculate or satisfy a woman during sexual intercourse doesn’t indicate that he is fertile.
Male fertility resolves around the following
- Normal and regular ejaculation
- A normal sperm count ranging from 15 million to or greater than 200 million sperm per millimeter of semen.
- Good health
- Active and a proper lifestyle
The current findings indicate that male infertility takes up 30%, a rise that is generally witnessed in the last five years. Currently, Male infertility issues revolve around;
- Low sperm count
- Poor sperm motility
- Poor sperm quality
- Ejaculation dysfunction
- Abnormal Sperm Morphology
Causes of Male Infertility
A series of habits increase male infertility risks while others may be genetically related. The commonest causes of male infertility include;
- Lifestyle- Habits such as smoking, illicit drug use, alcoholism, or smokeless tobacco could increase one’s chances of suffering from male infertility.
- Mental or emotional Stress- Workload or tight working schedules may deprive a male of proper sleeping schedules and limit his rest. This can cause hormone imbalances leading to male infertility
- Chromosome defects- These types of defects are mainly genetically inherited; such as Klinefelter’s Syndrome, Cystic fibrosis, Kartagener’s Syndrome, and Kallmann’s Syndrome.
- Health Issues- These include Celiac disease and certain medications like chemotherapy, long-term anabolic steroid use, and any other medication that can impair sperm production
- Tubal defects- Any defect in the tubules that transport sperm, such as a blockage, prior infections, or inherited conditions can trigger male infertility.
- Hormonal Imbalances- Low testosterone and other male hormones may arise from hormone system impairments such as; hypothalamus, thyroid, pituitary and adrenal glands.
- Varicocele- This is the swelling of the veins that drain the testicles. It is one of the most causes of male infertility, but reversible.
- Metal, chemical, or heat Exposure- These can be from factories, wearing tight jeans, radiation or X-ray that may affect sperm production and transportation
- Undescended Testicles- This happens during fetal development in which one or both the testicles may fail to descend from the abdomen into the scrotum.
Possible Male Infertility Treatments
A male will automatically require an examination that may also require a sperm analysis to ascertain the sperm morphology, sperm count, motility, and quality
In case diagnosed with infertility, possible treatments include;
- ICSI- Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection- This is where sperms are retrieved from a male surgically or through ejaculation and a single viable sperm is injected into the egg of a woman for fertilization
- PESA/TESA/MESA- These are different sperm retrieval approaches conducted in infertility centres. During these procedures, sperms are surgically retrieved from the epididymis for IUI, IVF, or ICSI procedures
- Donor Sperms- In this case, sperms are attained from sperm banks to help a man start a family
- IUI- Intrauterine Insemination requires sperms to be retrieved from a man or donor sperms may be injected into the woman for conception