Infertility is one of the problems that humanity faces. It can be a very problematic disorder for some couples who want to start a family. The society is often quick to lay blame on women when couples are unable to conceive. In most of the cases, people believe that the inability of a woman to conceive is not a mans problem (Hudson, 1986). People think that it is the problem of women. It shows how the male infertility has been a subject of the heated debates in the society. The majority of men feel incomplete because of their inability to get their partners pregnant. This essay highlights the subject of male infertility as well as its causes, diagnosis, and some treatment measures (Matzuk & Lamb, 2002).
Male infertility refers to the inability to get pregnant despite having frequent unprotected sex for at least a year. There are two types of infertility. The first is primary infertility, and the second is secondary infertility. Male infertility happens when a man is incapable of producing an offspring as a result of incapacity to produce a sufficient amount of healthy sperm (University of Utah Health Sciences Centre, 2003).
In Western Australia, every one in six couples is infertile. In twenty five males, one has a low sperm count. In every thirty-five males, one is sterile. The chance of conceiving for couples in their twenties is about twenty five per cent. The probability of getting pregnant in an IVF (in vitro fertilization) cycle is about twenty per cent. However, this chance varies due to different circumstances. In addition, forty per cent of males in Australia experience infertility problems. In Australia, about one per cent of births are as a result of reproductive technologies (Matzuk & Lamb, 2002).
In the world, about fifteen per cent of couples are infertile. It implies that they are not able to conceive a child even though they have been having recurrent, unprotected sexual intercourse for a year. Male infertility is responsible for almost half of these cases. Approximately ten per cent to fifteen of couples cannot be pregnant after one year of unprotected sex. In addition, the following features reveal the nature of infertility. For instance, about 30% to 40% of couples discover they have fertility challenges (WHO, 2000). Approximately 20% of couples find fertility challenges in the men. Approximately 30% to 40% discover fertility problems in the woman. However, only about 10% of couples do not find a justification for their infertility. Of men diagnosed with male infertility, 10% to 15% will have azoospermia (a complete lack of sperm). Azoospermia is present in about 1% of the general population (Lipshultz & Brugh, 2004)
Male infertility is as a result of misshapen or immobile sperm, low sperm production, or blockages in the delivery of sperm. Some factors such as illnesses, injuries, chronic health problems, lifestyle choices, and other factors can also cause male infertility. It is necessary to understand that male fertility is a complicated process (Dhabuwala et al, 1992). For a man to get his partner pregnant, he must produce healthy sperm from the body. The sperm must penetrate, reach, and fertilize the partner's egg. However, there are numerous conditions that lead to pregnancy of a spouse. Firstly, a man must produce a healthy sperm. Traditionally, this involves the development and formation of the male reproductive organs during puberty. As a condition, one of the testicles must be functioning efficiently. In addition, the body must produce hormones such as testosterone to start and maintain sperm formation. Delicate tubes transport them until they mix with semen until their ejaculation out of the penis after their production in the testicles (Argawal et al, 2007). The odds that one of the patients sperm will fertilize their partner's egg decreases if the number of sperm in the semen (sperm count) is low. Sperm must be shaped correctly and able to move. If the movement (motility) or shape (morphology) of the patients sperm is abnormal, the sperm may not be able to reach or penetrate their partner's egg. For instance, a low sperm count is fewer than 20 million sperm per millilitre of semen (Zini et al, 2011).
There are many factors that can lead to male infertility in the world. Similarly to female infertility, there are numerous causes of male infertility. The most common cause of male infertility is a problem with their sperm. A male can either have low sperm quality or a low sperm count. In addition, under-developed testes are also a more general factor that causes infertility in men (Evers and Clark, 2009). It, usually, arises from hernia surgery, mumps, or a birth defect. Some additional cause of male fertility may include swollen vein in the scrotum, and poor lifestyles and sexual habits (Ficarra et al, 2006).
Low sperm count and low sperm quality are the most common causes of male infertility. For instance, abnormalities in the shape of sperms or inability to swim can cause infertility challenges. These problems can be as a result of hormonal imbalances, infections, or testicular varicocele. In addition, absence of sperm in a condition known as azoospermia during ejaculation can also be a cause of male infertility. The absence of sperms can be a result of testicle damage, anatomical disorders, mumps or lack of hormones (Grasso et al, 2000).
Immunological factors are also responsible for male infertility. For instance, some men produce antibodies to their own sperm. It may prevent sperms from penetrating the egg. The absolute cause of this condition is still unclear due to infection or vasectomy (Yamamoto et al, 1996).
Another male infertility cause is spermatic cord occlusion. It occurs when the tube that transports sperms from the testis to the penis experiences problems such as blockages. This condition can be as a result of vasectomy, infections or sexually transmitted diseases (Nilsson et al, 1979).
Ejaculation disorders can also lead to male infertility. An example of ejaculation disorder is retrograde ejaculation. It is where the semen ejaculated backwards into the bladder. It prevents proper movement of sperm into the vagina. The man can often be unaware of such a problem (Breznik et al, 1993)
Prevalence and Risk Factors
Aging is one of the risk factors of male infertility as it affects sperm function. For instance, sperms that swim in a straight line have a good chance of making their way to the female reproductive tract for fertilization. However, the swimming ability of male sperms declines with advancement in age. In addition, Old men develop genetic abnormalities in sperms (Sigmund et al, 1987).
There are different factors that may contribute to male infertility. These factors may include aging, tobacco smoking, use of alcohol, obesity, excessive intake of caffeine and too many exercises (Seyferth et al, 1981).
When a man experiences fertility problems for a period exceeding one year, it is essential to seek medical examination. The first important issue with the medical doctor will be seeking the mans medical and social history. Some of the other questions that may help in diagnosis of male infertility may include inquiring the period of staying with ones partner, and how long they have been trying to conceive (Reproductive Health Strategy, 2004). The doctor may also inquire if the other partner is also experiencing infertility problems. Other elements may include inquiry into the lifestyle and pregnancy history of the mans partner. The doctor can then carry out a medical examination of the testicles and penis to check for things such as lumps, deformities and/or structure abnormalities. The doctor may also require the man to provide a semen sample for analysis on sperm count and quality. Some of the other tests that may be carried out to determine male infertility may include semen analysis, hormone testing and transect and scrotal ultrasound (Handelsman & Waites, 2006).
Effects of Male Infertility
There are different effects of male fertility in a mans life. For most of the couples, male infertility can be extremely stressful. In addition, it can be emotionally draining and physically taxing. It may put the relationship under enormous strain. The majority of infertile men find that counselling and joining a support group may help them to offset the draining effects of infertility on their shoulders (Griffin & Ringheim, 1996).
Symptoms of Male Infertility
Some of the symptoms of male infertility may include the inability for a couple to get pregnant and hormonal problems such as changes in hair growth or sexual function. The other symptoms may include the inability of the man's partner to conceive a child after one year of trying, difficulty reaching an orgasm or difficulty maintaining an erection, pain, and swelling or a lump in the groin or testicles. In addition, there may be decrease in facial or body hair, enlarged breasts, or other signs of a chromosomal or hormonal abnormality (Gallo & Grimes, 2006).
There are different procedures for the treatment of male infertility. Some of the treatment strategies for male infertility may include erectile dysfunction therapy and hormonal treatment. In addition, a procedure called Testicular Sperm Extraction (TESE) where a needle traps sperm in the testicles to assist to treat male infertility. Some of the other treatment techniques may include assisted conception techniques such as donor insemination (Naz, 2006).
Treatment of Male Infertility
Artificial inseminations are an infertility treatment strategy that remedies infertility problems in male with a low sperm count and high number of abnormal sperms. Examination of sperm analyses its ability to boost the probability of fertilisation. Numerous sperm moves into the uteruses. It makes the access to the fallopian tubes easy (Mathiesson & McLachlan, 2006).
Another method of treating male infertility is the in vitro fertilisation (IVF). This method treats infertility resulting from blockages of the fallopian tubes, abnormal sperm, endometriosis, and other cases of infertility (Handelsman, 2006).
Epididymis and testicular sperm extraction are another method that treats male infertility. This method extracts sperm directly from the testis or the epididymis using a needle for fertilization in the female. This treatment is fundamental in cases of azoospermia, and abnormalities with spermatic cord. Usually, samples of sperm can be collected for future use (Schwingl & Guess, 2000).
Some of the medical treatment procedures for male infertility may entail electric or vibratory stimulation to achieve ejaculation, surgical sperm ejaculation, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), and assisted hatching (Holden et a., 2005).
Some of the common drugs that help in treating male infertility may include Clomiphene, Human menopausal gonadotropin, HMG, Human chorionic gonadotropin, HCG, Gonadotropin, releasing hormone (Gn-RH) analogs, Aromatase inhibitors, Metformin, and Bromocriptine (Li et al, 1991).
Medical examination and treatment of infertility is advisable in case of hypo gonadotropic hypogonadism. It can be valuable in association with progress in the application of techniques. The preventive measures for male infertility may entail avoiding alcohol, tobacco, and street drugs. In addition, men should avoid hot tubs and steam baths (Li et al, 1991).
Societies consider infertility as a woman's issue. However, studies show that about 40 per cent of infertility cases arise as a result of male factors. Female factors account for only 40% of infertility cases. In addition, some unknown conditions contribute to about twenty per cent of infertility cases. For instance, approximately in every twenty male Americans, one is infertile. It may result from different conditions such as chronic diseases (including diabetes), low sperm count, defective sperm, and damage to reproductive organs due to diseases. Some other factors may include disease such as testicular injury, sexually transmitted disorders or mumps, and autoimmune responses. Autoimmune responses are where a male produces antibodies that affect the functionality of his own sperm. In addition, genetic factors, cigarette smoking, hormonal imbalances, drug addiction, narcotics, stress, and excessive alcohol use may contribute to male infertility (Li et al, 1991).
Males remain fertile to their late adulthood ages. However, production of sperms may decrease with age. Excessive exposure to heat may lead to low sperm formation. It may contribute to male infertility. It explains why doctors advise men to wear loose shorts during hot weather instead of tight underwear. In addition, they should not have prolonged athletic activity, or use electric blankets to sleep. It can contribute to reduction of male infertility cases. Low sperm count may be as a result of frequent ejaculations. It is significant to note that sperm production takes about seventy four days. After seventy four days, male can produce viable sperm. Therefore, the chances of conceiving may improve in men with low sperm counts by collecting and freezing multiple sperms (Nevid, 1995).
Infertility affects many couples in the contemporary society. Nearly half of infertility cases are as a result of male problems. It is essential for couples to seek an appointment with a doctor once they suspect a problem of infertility. Fertility declines with age in both women and men. In my opinion, men over 40 years should consult a doctor after six months of failure to conceive. In addition, young men may wait for up to a year, according to recommendation of their doctors (Naz, 2006).
Infertility refers to a state when a couple fails to conceive after one year of regular, unprotected sexual intercourse. Infertility may affect both partners. In some cases, the cause of infertility may be unclear. There are many factors that can lead to male infertility. The most common cause of male infertility is a problem with their sperm. A male can either have low sperm quality or a low sperm count. In addition, under-developed testes are also a more general factor that causes infertility in men. It usually arises after hernia surgery, mumps, or a birth defect. Some additional cause of male fertility may include swollen vein in the scrotum, poor lifestyles, and sexual habits. There are different procedures for the treatment of male infertility. Some of the treatments may include erectile dysfunction therapy and hormonal treatment. In addition, a procedure called Testicular Sperm Extraction (TESE) where a needle releases trapped sperm in the testicles may assist to treat male infertility. Some of the other treatment techniques may include assisted conception techniques such as donor insemination.
In conclusion, it can be distressing to find that your partner is infertile. The essay shows that infertility may lead to anger, denial, blame, guilt, self-pity or jealousy. In addition, this may place stress on ones relationship. These feelings are common, and clinics provide counselling services to help infertile couples to deal with them. In contrast, infertility can also be a manageable disorder. Going through infertility treatments can be an emotional rollercoaster. It can be stressful for couples who fail to conceive after several cycles. In most of the cases, the start of a cycle brings anticipation, hope and anxiety for pregnancy. However, disappointment and despair may follow quickly when a couple discovers she is not pregnant. Nevertheless, it is essential to note that it takes some time before a couple undergoing infertility treatments becomes pregnant. There have been significant improvements in the treatment of infertile couples due to the advancement in technology. However, the society has not changed its opinion about the subject of infertility. There are different misconceptions and wrong theories about infertility. It is due to the society's ignorance about infertility. Infertile couples face the risk of incurring high costs to bear a child. Infertility treatment is an important tool in conception of infertile couples. Treatment of male infertility rectifies the medical conditions that may be affecting the fertility of a man. For instance, doctors may use drug therapy to treat hormonal imbalance disorders. In addition, they may use surgery to treat varicocele and rectify obstructions in the male reproductive tissue. Doctors may resolve to use Intracytoplasmic sperm injection and in vitro fertilization to achieve conception for infertile males. In general, male infertility is one of the common disorders affecting the world. This essay reveals different causes that may lead to this disorder. However, a combination of relevant treatment strategies can treat the disorder. It is significant for infertile male to seek medical help to rectify the disorder.