Male Infertility in the Spotlight for Men’s Health Awareness Month

June is Men’s Health Awareness Month – a global effort to raise awareness of health problems that affect men. It is an opportunity for health care providers, policy makers, the media, and individuals to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and to encourage early detection and treatment for disease and injury.

At Medfem Fertility Clinic, our team would like to participate in this opportunity by highlighting the importance of men’s health and well-being when it comes to male fertility. At Medfem, it is our joy and commitment to provide dads-to-be facing infertility with a positive outcome to their fertility journey, helping them to achieve their family dream.

In this article, we highlight three issues: first, the lack of awareness around the high incidence of male infertility; second, the fact that male fertility challenges are medical conditions; and third, that male infertility can be successfully treated in almost all cases, right here in South Africa.

You can click here to find out how to choose the right fertility clinic for you.

1. The High Incidence of Male Infertility

In many places and communities, infertility is considered to be a “female” problem. Few people realise just how many men are affected.

The reality, however, is that infertility affects men and women equally. Infertility may be caused by a number of different factors, in either the male or female reproductive systems.

According to the American Society For Reproductive Medicine, approximately one-third of infertility is attributed to the female partner, one-third attributed to the male partner and one-third is caused by a combination of problems in both partners or is unexplained.

2. Male Infertility Is A Medical Condition

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), among others, infertility is a disease that results in the abnormal functioning of the male or female reproductive system.

The WHO notes that in the male reproductive system, this medical condition may be caused by:

* Obstruction of the reproductive tract causing dysfunctionalities in the ejection of semen. This blockage can occur in the tubes that carry semen (such as ejaculatory ducts and seminal vesicles). Blockages are commonly due to injuries or infections of the genital tract.

* Hormonal disorders leading to abnormalities in hormones produced by the pituitary gland, hypothalamus and testicles. Hormones such as testosterone regulate sperm production. Example of disorders that result in hormonal imbalance include pituitary or testicular cancers.

* Testicular failure to produce sperm, for example due to varicoceles or medical treatments that impair sperm-producing cells (such as chemotherapy).

* Abnormal sperm function and quality. Conditions or situations that cause abnormal shape (morphology) and movement (motility) of the sperm negatively affect fertility. For example, the use of anabolic steroids can cause abnormal semen parameters such sperm count and shape.

* Environmental and lifestyle factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol intake and obesity can also affect fertility. In addition, exposure to environmental pollutants and toxins can be directly toxic to gametes (eggs and sperm), resulting in their decreased numbers and poor quality, leading to infertility.

Among all these possible causes, infertility is most commonly caused in the male reproductive system by problems in the ejection of semen, absence or low levels of sperm, or abnormal shape (morphology) and movement (motility) of the sperm.

This, as well as the vast majority of other causes of infertility, can be treated medically.

3. Male Infertility Can Be Successfully Treated

Due to great advances in medical technology, there are a range of treatments, procedures and options for male infertility.

For example, one of the major break throughs in treatment of male infertility is Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection, as the name suggests, is used to inject the sperm directly into the egg.

ICSI is used in the case of poor semen characteristics. Because of its rate of fertilisation of around 70% and because only a few normal sperm are needed, this treatment gives even men who were previously considered completely sterile an excellent chance to have their own child.

It is a revolution in the treatment of men with very severe infertility, making fatherhood possible for the most challenging of cases. To date, tens of thousands of children have been born around the world as the result of ICSI.

In addition to ICSI, Medfem Fertility Clinic also proudly offers a range of other treatments, including:

Hormonal Therapy – effective treatment for male hormonal disorder, correcting a deficiency in the hormones that control testicular function through injections of hormone preparations.

Varicocele Repair – repairing dilated veins in the scrotum, which may interfere with the testicle’s production of sperm, resulting in a significant improvement in sperm production within months.

Vasectomy Reversal – also called a vasovasostomy, the success of a vasectomy reversal depends on how long ago the procedure was done.

Surgical Sperm Retrieval – If motile sperm is being produced, it is possible to retrieve the sperm surgically through various procedures such as Testicular Sperm Aspiration (TESA), Percutaneous Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (PESA) and Microsurgical Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (MESA). Alternatively, a sample of tissue (testicular biopsy) can be taken from the testes.

Artificial Insemination (AI) / Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) – This is the technique of placing sperm from a male partner or from a sperm donor directly into the female partner’s uterus, used in cases of a mild sperm abnormality or the presence of anti-sperm antibodies in either partner.

Sperm Donation – Sperm donations from decent, committed men who give up their time without getting paid is available through Medfem Fertility Clinic’s own sperm bank which was been established for three decades.

Sperm Freezing and Storage – If you are facing a situation that could interfere with your future fertility, such as radiation or chemo therapy, pelvic or testicular surgery, a vasectomy and certain illnesses, diseases or injuries, you have the option of freezing and storing semen samples so you and your partner may use them to become pregnant in the future.

The first step in male infertility treatment

Male infertility can definitely be treated – and with excellent results. In fact, even men who were previously considered completely sterile now have an excellent chance to have their own child.

Once the exact cause of your male infertility challenge has been identified, the right treatment from the extensive range of options can be selected.

There is only one way of determining for certain what the exact cause of your male fertility challenge is – and selecting the right treatment – and that is a first consultation with a fertility expert.

If you would like to meet one of our fertility specialists at Medfem Fertility Clinic, simply click here to book an initial consultation or contact us telephonically on +27 (11) 463 2244.

At Medfem, we believe in helping you reach your family dream through:

* World-Class Fertility for Everyone
* A Positive Fertility Journey
* Delivered With Empathy & Caring

It is our joy and commitment to give you a positive outcome to your fertility journey, so you will have a fond memory of feeling empathy, caring and being part of the Medfem Fertility Clinic family.

We look forward to meeting you!

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