Infertility is a growing problem in India, with an estimated 10-14% of couples struggling with infertility. While infertility is often thought of as a women’s issue, it is essential to note that male infertility is a significant contributor to couples being unable to conceive.
The Indian Society of Assisted Reproduction (ISAR) reports that approximately 30-40% of infertility cases in India are due to male infertility.
Infertility is often considered taboo in our society, which makes many couples reluctant to seek medical help. As a leading infertility hospital in Bangalore, we want to spread awareness among such couples that prompt diagnosis and treatment can improve the chances of conception.
This article gets to the roots of various causes of infertility in men and the statistics surrounding infertility in India.
Defining Infertility in Men
Infertility in men is defined as the inability to cause pregnancy in a fertile female partner after a year of regular sexual intercourse without using contraception. A variety of factors, including low sperm count, poor sperm quality, and problems with sperm production and delivery, can cause infertility.
Factors Contributing to Male Infertility
There are several factors that can contribute to male infertility, including:
Genetics and family history: Certain genetic disorders can cause infertility in men, such as azoospermia (absence of sperm in semen) or low sperm count. If there is a history of infertility in the family, it is more likely that the man may also experience fertility problems. Research studies have shown that genetic causes account for approximately 10-15% of male infertility cases.
Age: As men age, the quality and quantity of sperm produced can decrease, leading to infertility. The risk of infertility increases after the age of 40, and it is estimated that about 1 in every four couples experiencing infertility have a male factor as the sole cause or contributing factor.
Lifestyle factors: Lifestyle factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, drug use, and obesity can all contribute to male infertility. Smoking can decrease sperm count and motility, while alcohol consumption can affect the production of hormones needed for sperm production. Obese men have lower testosterone levels and higher levels of oestrogen, which can also lead to infertility.
Environmental factors: Exposure to environmental toxins such as pesticides, lead, and heavy metals can affect sperm production and function. These toxins can cause damage to the DNA of sperm, leading to reduced fertility and an increased risk of birth defects.
Sexual health problems: Sexual health problems such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and erectile dysfunction can cause infertility in men. STIs such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea can damage the reproductive tract, while erectile dysfunction can prevent successful intercourse and lead to infertility.
Testicular injury or surgery: Testicular injury or surgery, such as a hernia repair or removal of the testicles (orchiectomy), can also cause infertility in men. This can result in damage to the delicate structures within the testicles that are responsible for sperm production.
Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions such as varicoceles (enlarged veins in the testicles), thyroid problems, and hormonal imbalances can also contribute to infertility in men. Varicoceles can reduce sperm count and motility, while thyroid problems and hormonal imbalances can affect the production of hormones needed for sperm production.
Stress: Chronic stress can also negatively impact sperm production and function. Stress has been shown to decrease testosterone levels, leading to decreased sperm count and motility.
Medications: Certain medications, including anabolic steroids and testosterone replacement therapy, can also cause infertility in men. Anabolic steroids can reduce sperm count and motility, while testosterone replacement therapy can interfere with the production of sperm.
Radiation or chemotherapy: Radiation or chemotherapy used to treat cancer can also cause infertility in men. These treatments can damage the delicate structures within the testicles responsible for sperm production, leading to reduced fertility.
Physical problems: Physical problems such as undescended testicles, varicocele, and injury to the reproductive system can lead to infertility. Undescended testicles can reduce sperm production, while varicoceles and injury to the reproductive system can cause physical damage and reduced fertility.
Infertility in men is a common issue couples face. To combat infertility in men, it is important to address these underlying causes and seek medical help as soon as possible. By raising awareness and breaking down the stigma surrounding infertility, couples in India can increase their chances of having a successful pregnancy and starting a family.
Janisthaa IVF and Fertility Centre, the leading infertility hospital in Bangalore, offers comprehensive fertility services and a team of experienced specialists who can help you determine the root cause of your infertility and develop a personalised treatment plan. Don’t wait any longer.
Take the first step towards building your family and book an appointment with our fertility experts today!