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Infertility affects men and women equally. Approximately one‐third of cases of couple infertility is due to male factors, one‐third to female factors and one‐third relates to a combination of male and female factors or has no identifiable cause
Men should acknowledge and openly discuss their infertility issues and strive for a team approach to family building with their partners.
A culture shift is needed to progress toward Shared Fertility Responsibility
although male factors contribute to about half of all cases of infertility, women are overwhelmingly perceived as being the party responsible for a couple’s infertility, and subsequently the social suffering associated with infertility tends to be greater for them than their husbands.
Merck Fertility is a Shared Responsibility initiative will contribute to raising awareness about male infertility and encourage men to acknowledge and openly discuss their infertility issues and strive for a team approach to family building with their partners in order to progress toward Shared Fertility Responsibility among couples Male Infertility:Male infertility is mainly caused by sperm abnormalities, such as low sperm production, misshapen or immobile sperm, or blockages that stop sperm delivery.
Such abnormalities can be caused by numerous medical conditions, including ejaculation problems, infection, varicocele (swelling of the veins in the testes), undescended testicles, erection problems and celiac disease.
Environmental factors ‐ such as exposure to industrial chemicals or radiation ‐ can also reduce sperm function and production.
Health and lifestyle factors
including smoking and emotional stress ‐ may also lead to male infertility. Sedentary lifestyle is associated with reduced sperm quality and a high‐fat diet may negatively impact quality and concentration of sperm.
There are a series of tests that can detect male infertility
A sperm and semen analysis involves a trained expert assessing a man’s sperm count from a semen sample, as well as the shape (morphology) and movement (motility) of the sperm. If any abnormalities are found, further tests will be required.
Other tests to detect male infertility include hormone evaluation, genetic testing and a physical examination, which can usually pick up varicocele.
What treatments are available for male infertility?
Assisted reproductive technology (ART) involves obtaining sperm either through normal ejaculation or surgical extraction. The sperm is then either inserted in the female genital tract, or used for in vitro fertilization (IVF) where it is combined with a partner’s egg inside a laboratory.
In the case of hormonal problems, there are hormone replacement medications available that may reverse infertility, while antibiotics may treat an infection of the reproductive tract.
Varicocele can sometimes be surgically corrected through surgery, and if infertility is caused by erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation, there are effective medications available.
For infertility to be viewed as a shared issue, society needs to abolish the association between male infertility and masculinity.
Infertility should be viewed as an equal issue among couples
- Morell V: Basic infertility assessment. Prim Care 24: 195, 1997
- M.H. Johnson, B.J. Everitt. Essential Reproduction. (Blackwell Sciences Ltd., Oxford, 2000)