About 50 percent of the infertility cases in the country are due to male factor issues

About 50 percent of the infertility cases in the country are due to male factor issues

Male infertility refers to a condition where a man is unable to cause a pregnancy in a fertile
female. In all the couples experiencing infertility almost one third is due to male factors. Fertility
issues are rampant in cities where people are leading stressful lives. Inadequate nutrition coupled
with consumption of alcohol in excess, smoking, low fitness can all lead to decrease in the fertility
level in men.
There is a staggering lack of awareness in India about the problem. Women often bear the blame for
not bearing a child and male fertility issues are ignored. According to the All India Institute of
Medical Sciences over 12-18 million couples in India are diagnosed with infertility every year. WHO
in its report has stated that of all infertility cases in India, 50% are due to “male factor” infertility.
Both men and women can experience infertility and have equal chances of facing conception issue
due to infertility.
Speaking about the issue Dr. Suparna Bhattacharya, Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF Fertility Kolkata,
said “Male infertility is something that is rarely discussed in India. There must be awareness created
among the men; that they too may be responsible for the problems caused in conception. It is
estimated that at least 50% of the instances of infertility are due to the male factor, if not more.
There is a trend seen in India where the sperm count is constantly decreasing in many men”
The doctor gave insights on the causes for male infertility saying “Other than lifestyle causes like
smoking, drinking, and abuse of drugs etc., exposure to high temperature is also a cause that can
lead to male infertility. If the environmental condition, for example, their workplace has high
temperature, it can cause the decrease in the sperm count. The causes can be divided into three
types. Pre testicular- where the hormonal regulation of the testicle is affected, the second type is
Testicular, where the normal sperm production is affected due to defect in the development of the
testes, the third is Post testicular, where despite sperm production, the sperm is unable to travel due
to defects in the genital tract and there are problems in ejaculation. Once we determine the cause,
we can give appropriate treatment to the patient. Male infertility is a prevalent but curable factor
that exists in the current day and age. One should accept, and seek medical help rather than shy
away from this common matter.”
Recalling one of her cases of male infertility issue, she said “A very young couple was facing
difficulty in conceiving. The wife was just 20 years old and the husband was 24. Post conducting tests
on the wife we got sure that she had no fertility issues. Based on this, we took detailed medical
history of the husband, conducted hormonal tests, physical examination, and genetic tests as well
which all came out to be normal. However, as it turned out, he had a condition called Azoospermia
which means complete lack of sperm in the semen and that is why they were having trouble in
conceiving.”
“In cases like these, where the man is young and has Azoospermia, we suggest the couple two
solutions. First is retrieval of the husband’s sperm by testicular biopsy (TESA) and then by IVF -ICSI
(Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) use these sperms to fertilize with the oocytes retrieved from the
wife. The advantage of this process is that the person gets to have a child using his own sperm, but
there are also certain risks involved like the probability that sperm may not be available, or it may be
available but may not be useful, sometimes this procedure is not successful and this process is
expensive as well. The next suggestion is insemination by donor sperm. This solution while less

expensive, simple and easier but does have the disadvantage that since the husband’s sperm is not
used, the genetic element of the child will be different”, she added.
The couple decided to go with the first option i.e retrieval of the husband’s sperm by TESA and then
by ICSI and they were able to conceive in the second attempt, giving this young couple a chance at
parenthood”
Male infertility is a growing concern. According to studies conducted the average sperm parameter,
which happened to be 60 million previously, has now reduced to 20 million. Research also shows
that with every degree rise in temperature to the testes, the sperm production decreases and with
growing global warming issues, male fertility has become a matter of major anxiety.
Speaking about the issue, Dr. Suparna Bhattacharya added, “Although there is a lack of awareness,
I have noticed that the patients are becoming more proactive about fertility issues. Therefore, with
the help of various social media, we as doctors, try to make people understand the issue of male
infertility and try to remove the stigma around it. Male infertility can be treated if diagnosed at the
right time and proper treatment is given. Changes in lifestyle like healthy eating, quitting smoking
and alcohol can also go a long way in solving this problem. I encourage all couples facing fertility
issues to seek proper treatment”

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