Causes of Infertility In Men

I have previously written male infertility.

But I feel the need to revisit this topic again purely to educate my fellow African family.

Often some cultures attributes failure to conceive sorely to women.

It is not uncommon to blame the woman after a couples have been trying for years.

Often the men refuse to be tested claiming they are fine and have fathered children outside the home.

Men are proud and often ashamed to subject themselves to test as it is seen as not being macho.

A lot of men equate fertility with virility and sexual potency and it’s unfortunate as marriages and relations have broken up due to the refusal of the men to get tested.

Men refuse to seek help choosing to remain mum, even in cases where they know the fault is theirs.

They remain quiet for fear of being shamed by their families and peers and seen as less of a man.

This is unfortunate because the man is the only factor in about 8% of cases where infertility is suspected.

Common Causes of Infertility in Men.

Abnormal sperm: The sperm may have an unusual shape, making it harder to move and fertilize an egg.

Either problem with the testicles and in such cases this could be genetic or exposure to environmental factors or toxins.

Other causes are as a result of obesity and smoking.

drug use.

Certain types of medicines can sometimes cause infertility problem:

The following can cause infertility in men:

• sulfasalazine – an anti-inflammatory medicine used to treat conditions such as Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis; sulfasalazine can decrease the number of sperm,

• anabolic steroids – are often used to build muscle and improve athletic performance; long-term use can reduce sperm count and sperm mobility

chemotherapy – can sometimes severely reduce sperm production

• herbal remedies – such as root extracts of the Chinese herb Tripterygium wilfordii, can affect the production of sperm or reduce the size of your testicles

Other Illegal drugs, such as marijuana and cocaine, can also affect semen quality.

excessive alcohol in take, excessive exposure to high heat which can increase the temperature of the testicle leading to problems with sperm production. and tight clothing

If you are trying to get pregnant with your partner it is advisable to avoid or limit your use of hot bath and sauna.

Ejaculation disorders

Some men experience ejaculation problems that can make it difficult for them to release semen during sex (ejaculate).

Unexplained infertility

In the UK, unexplained infertility accounts for around 25% of cases of infertility. This is where no cause can be identified in either the woman or man.

Infertility tests for men

The doctor will ask the man about his medical history, medications, and sexual habits and carry out a physical examination. All the needed checks will be carried out to determine the cause of the infertility

• Semen analysis: A sample may be taken to test for sperm

• Blood test: The lab will test for levels of testosterone and other hormones.

• Ultrasound: This may reveal issues such as ejaculatory duct obstruction or retrograde ejaculation.

Chlamydia test: Chlamydia can affect fertility, but antibiotics can treat it.

Fertility treatments for men

Treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the infertility.

For premature ejaculation: Medication may help improve fertility.

• Varicocele: Surgically removing a varicose vein in the scrotum may help.

• Blockage of the ejaculatory duct: Sperm can be extracted directly from the testicles and injected into an egg in the laboratory.

Both the man and his partner may have to undergo assisted reproduction such as

IUI

IVF

ICSI

Sperm or egg donation

It is recommended that couples should seek help after 6 months of trying if the woman is over 40, and after a year if the woman is under 40 years of age.

So ditch the myth about fertility being a female only problem as tackle it together as a couple.

Your Partner in Hope

D’Ebi

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Infertility Research: Male Factor

The first sign that a couple may be having difficulty conceiving is a few months after trying. Often the women immediately thinks its her fault, and most investigations begins with her.

There is very little by way of research into Male related infertility issues. But not anymore, science and medical experts are now recognizing the Male factor in infertility leading to more research in this area.

Recent research carried out by scientists at Newcastle University has revealed possible reason for Male Infertility may be related to a gene producing hormones which is necessary for the production of fully functioning sperm.

A gene identifies as RBMXL2 similar to the infertile gene found in the Y chromosomes may be responsible for infertility in men. They found that RBMXL2 is essential to making sperm.

The scientist found that deleting the RBMXL2 gene from chromosome 11 blocked sperm production and this paves the way for further exciting research in this area. This was a 10 year study which involved scientist from USA, And Europe.

Understanding how RBMXL2 enables sperm to be made gives experts a clue as to how the similar infertility genes on the Y chromosome work.

Research found that the block occurred while the cells were dividing in the testicles to make sperm, under the process of meiosis.

This block meant that none of the cells developed into sperm cells were able to swim and fertilise eggs.

Much more needs to be done to investigate the causes of male factor infertility, that’s why Fertility Network welcomes this research from Newcastle University which, although in the very early stages, offers hope for a greater understanding of male fertility in the future.

This is great new for couples as more gets done, better treatment will be developed towards treating Male related infertility.

So something to get excited about as Male related infertility causes are investigated. Keeping hope alive.

Your Partner In Hope

D’Ebi

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IVF: Who Gets Funded?

For couples struggling to conceive after several try, IVF May seem the only option. No treatment plan is easy and to decide to take the leap is to choose to hope and to dream that one will become a parent at the end. To get there, first couples have to meet several rigorous health checks.

The national institute for health care makes recommendation as to who should get funding on the NHS.

Women under 40

NICE recommends 3 IVFs cycle to these group of women on the NHS. Provided

  • They have been trying to have regular unprotected sex for 2 years.
  • And they’ve not been able to get pregnant after 12 cycles of artificial insemination

women who are 40 – 42 are given 1 cycle of IVF in the NHS.

Provided that they have been

  • Trying to conceive for 2 years
  • have not been able to get pregnant after 12 cycles of artificial insemination.
  • They have never had IVF before and
  • Test do not indicate low levels of ovaries or low in quality.

The provision of IVF treatment varies across the country. Although NHS trust across the country are working to provide the same service this often depends on the local CCG. (Clinical commission group).

The CCG may have additional criteria before you can have IVF on the NHS, such as:

  • Not having any children already, from both your current and any previous relationships
  • Being a healthy weight
  • A non smoker.
  • falling into a certain age range (for example, some CCGs only fund treatment for women under 35)
  • In some cases, only 1 cycle of IVF may be routinely offered, instead of the 3 recommended by NICE
  • (from NHS UK).

The process of being accepted and rejected can be daunting. Having to be rejected based on age is like being punished for not trying early.

The decision for most older women is not that easy, they may not have met the right guy early enough and for those who did they might just fall outside of the recommended age by a year. Some CCG offers treatment to those below 35.

The over 35s may have secondary infertility. This leaves the only option available which is to go the private route.

Regardless, the NHS is trying to help first timers and cases which are not as complicated. This surely is a good thing, but no consolation to those who are unable to have funded for their treatment.

Weight check is important as Research have show that a healthy weight is beneficial in many ways.

My advice to anyone seeking IVF on the NHS is this:

Ask your GP or contact your local CCG to find out what the criteria for NHS-funded IVF treatment are in your area.

Private option is your only choice If you do not meet the funding criteria, you can contact the clinics directly or get a referral from your GP.

Going private comes at a huge cost with average cost at £5,000 or more per cycle.

There maybe additional cost of consultation fees, blood test and other adds on..

Find out exactly what is included in the cost before embarking on treatment.

Finally have faith in your body, be positive and keep hope alive.

Your Partner in Hope.

D’Ebi

Sources:

NHS choice, HFEA (Human Fertility and Embryology Authority.

Exploring Other Options: ICSI

I have previously written on exploring other options when it comes to seeking fertility treatment. This POST will examine one of those options the ICSI.

According to the HFEA.

the cause of infertility in around half of couples having problems conceiving is sperm-related. ICSI offers hope to these couples most common and successful treatment for male infertility.

ICSE means – (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection )ICSI is a specialised form of In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) it is used for the treatment of severe cases of male-factor infertility.

It is intended for couples with the following problems.

very low sperm count

abnormally shaped sperm (poor morphology) or where the sperm move abnormally (poor motility)

previous IVF TREATMENT.

A situation Where the sperm needs to be collected surgically from the testicles or epididymis (a narrow tube inside the scrotum where sperm are stored and matured); possibly because of vasectomy,

The process involves the injection of a single sperm directly into a mature egg.

Just like IVF the process involves stimulating the ovaries to produce a mature egg. Once the eggs are matured they are retrieved and fertilised with the sperm.

When the egg is fertilised it is left in the lab for a few days.

The embryo is transfer

embryo transfer can be two in some cases the number of embryo transferred depends on the woman’s age, once transferred it is recommended that the woman reduce their movement for the next 24 hours. the remaining good-quality embryos will be frozen and stored to be used in future cycle if necessary.

After the transfer, then begin the wait, before the all-important pregnancy test.

Availability:

according to the NHS website couples undergoing IVF treatment can use ICSI as a method of insemination if required.

The University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust was one of the first in the country to be licensed to offer the treatment.

How is ICSI different from IVF?

The steps are similar at the early stages however with IVF the eggs are placed together with the sperm fertilization occurs when the sperm swims to the egg.

In ICSI there is a bit more interference by the embryologist. Here the sperm is selected and injected directly into the egg.This maximises the chance of fertilisation taking place as it bypasses any potential problems the sperm will have in actually getting to the egg.

the success rate?

generally the success rate for both IVF and ICSI are similar. According to the HFEA fertilisation happens in around 90% of cases.

Fertilisation doesn’t necessarily means a successful pregnancy.

One of the deterring factor for success is a woman’s age and any previous difficulty.in conceiving. After transfer there is a 2 weeks wait at before pregnancy can be confirmed by a blood test.

I hope you found this useful. For more in depth information please visit the Following website

NHS UK

HFEA

And your family Doctor

Your Partner in Hope

D’Ebi

Our Hope For The New Year.

Now the Year is over,

The next has drawn near.

With nothing written in it, yet.

One where we hope our dreams and desires will be fulfilled.

Our eyes are looking, waiting and hoping that this year we will experience greater joy, peace, and unity.

O dear fellow earthly traveller, as you journey into another year, who or what will you lean on?

Earthly strength? Did that help you this year?

Earthly wealth? How did you fare? Perhaps wealth brought you health.

Earthly friends? Did they desert you or where they a present help in your time of need?

Earthly possessions? Did they bring you great joy or sadness?

What did you find comfort in this year?

Was the joy you found lasting or do think something else was needed?

As you step into the Next Year, I implore you to

let God be your strength, for His strength never fails.

Let Him be your guide for He leads in the right path.

Let Him be your friend for His is faithful and will never fail.

Let Him be your riches for His storehouses never runs out.

Let Him be your health for He comes with healing in his wings.

Let Him be your help for He is a present help in trouble.

Let Him be your light for He is the light of the World and in Him there is no darkness.

Let Him be all that you need and will ever want, in Him dwells are the fulfillment of everything.

Make a Him your top priority and you will enjoy a peaceful and successful Year.

Happy New Year.

your Partner in Hope

D’Ebi

Unplanned Pregnancy

The planning, dreaming, scheming and hopes of the future can be seen in the eyes of newly wedded couples.

They have plans, written and spoke.

Where To live, jobs and career plans, places to visit, number of children to have.

Once settled and and the stage is set for children then begin the wait.

As months turns into years it begins to dawn on them that their plans isn’t going according to script.

We soon realise our plans have fallen through after several test, appointments and disappointments. The dreams and hopes begin to grow deem.

Mary had plans to wed Joseph her sweet heart, only for those plans to be scuppered by an unplanned pregnancy. An unwed mother, what scandal, how will she face the world? Joseph was definitely going to leave her.

Explaining why you remain childless is one of the hardest thing to do. how do you respond to the the unspoken accusation, the questioning looks, the side remarks and unkind comments.

How do you explain that this isn’t part of your plan? This isn’t how it was supposed to turn out.

To us and those around us, the waiting doesn’t make any sense. Just as being a pregnant virgin did not make sense to anyone.

Who was going to believe she was carrying the Messiah, the saviour of the world.

Mary yielded herself to God and trusted that his plans for her are perfect.

Do you feel like your plans for a baby has been hijacked? let the story of a virgin Mum inspire you. Believe that the end of your story holds something good.

For the best laid plans are those planned by the master.

Your Partner in Hope

D’Ebi

Infertility: A lonely Journey

I grabbed a magazine and waited my turn in the Dr’s waiting room. I decided against reading and instead struck up a conversation with the lady next to me. We immediately bonded and exchanged tales of our plight. Half way Into the conversation she commented, it’s so lonely though, to which I replied,  yes it can be.

I previously shared how lonely infertility can  be here; Christmas and waiting:: Although we do have friends and family who care, when it comes down to it the pain of disappointment is all yours, nobody else’s. The trips,  appointments for endless test and procedures are all yours. Just you and your partner’s as the case maybe

How do you explain a pain so deep to those who are not in it. How do you explain the constant tears, how do you talk about the ache from that first, second and third loss? It is unexplainably and our reaction to it is can also seem unreasonable.

Loneliness at Christmas is especially pronounced. Sitting at the dinner table with the laughter of nieces and nephews only serves to highlight the empty nest waiting for you back home.

If you feel especially lonely now or at any other time, remember the name ”IMMANUEL”. Meaning God with us.

This is one of the names of the promised Messiah. “God with us.

He is with us

In the waiting room,

At the dinner table,

At the operating theatre,

As we suffer another miscarriage

As we face the questioning stares and audible alterations of others.

The promised Messiah is with us. Holding, soothing, caring and reassuring us.

His presence brings peace, hope, joy and answers.

He was certainly my hope and strength during my wait. I had his presence which gave me strength every step of the way. Some people questioned my lack of intense misery and mistook my inability to conceive as a conscious decision not to have kids. The opposite was true.

I exhibited my pains in his presence and he in turn he infused me with joy for the journey as a result of his presence, the journey was no longer lonely. I can talk with him and pour out my heart to him because he is with me.

Be encouraged today, the promised child is the risen saviour who is always with you. You can count on his present as you journey through Infertility.

Your Partner in Hope

D’Ebi

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A Huge Cost:

40 years ago the first IVF baby was born. Since then thousands of babies have been born via this process at a huge cost.

The decision to undergo the IVF process is very often the last resort after other means of conception has been tested without success.

It is the last choice for couples because undergoing the procedure comes at a huge cost. And very few couples succeed at the very first try. We certainly didn’t. It took 3 attempts before we fell pregnant.

What price would you pay to have a child? So many couples have remortgage their properties, incur huge debt and lost their health in their quest to have their precious baby.

As I ponder over the Christmas story it struck me that God gave Christ to us at Christmas to redeem the world.

Redeeming mankind came at a huge cost to him. He gave up something precious to gain many sons and daughters.

If you are struggling and trying to come to terms with the cost you have to put to get your a child, be conformed in the knowledge that your Heavenly Father took a very painful decision to give up His Son for the redemption of mankind.

You may have paid a great price in your quest for a baby. Subjecting your body to endless probe and test, enduring the pain of lost pregnancies and stillbirth,

and determined to try again.

Your Heavenly Father walked where you walked, he suffered lost for a greater joy.

At Christmas while Earth welcomed a baby, heaven moaned a lost.

My prayer and hope for you this 4th day of Advent is that you too will have the outcome you so desire. That your pain will not be in vain and the price you have had to pay will be worth it in the end.

Because, He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Romans 8:32

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them. Luke 1:68.

Your Partner in Hope.

D’Ebi

Comfort & Joy: in the mist of infertility.

O the pains brought on by this infertility is excruciating. It reaches deep into the soul and affects every facet of our lives. It is visible for all to see and It stands out like a sore thumb.

It looks insurmountable like a great big mountain.

Our womb like a rugged road incapable of holding a child.

Our sperm seems so dead that all hope seems lost.

The outlook so bleak we become blur by endless tears from our pain.

The picture of infertility does not inspire joy.

So too was the picture of a child in a manger. Picture the manger with farm animals and a baby inside, this was not the beautiful nativity scene we see today.

I imagine it was smelly, with hen droppings, bleats of goats, very small and uncomfortable indeed. But inside that manger was a child promised to bring comfort and joy to the world.

Yes, the picture of a baby inside a manger was not inspiring but the baby was.

He came to make every crooked path straight,

Every mountain  brought low.

Every rugged places plain.

Every valley raised.

Every rough ground level.

What does this means for us today? To me it means he made the impossible possible

I can find the different causes of infertility in all of what Jesus came to change. Crooked paths, rugged places, rough patches and low valleys, what infertility represents.

Picture your situation and picture the child who came thousands of years ago, to bring hope, comfort and Joy to all.

Christmas isn’t just a feel good story, Christmas happened. Christmas is Christ in every difficult situation making them better. As you celebrate his birth this Christmas, whatever your diagnoses, picture him bringing comfort and Joy into it

Your partner in Hope

D’Ebi.

A Little Town, A Great Outcome: The Christmas PromiseHope Against HopeDon’t tire, keep trying.

#IVFIS40

On the 10/11/1977 IVF was born in the person of Louise Brown. She was born at Oldham and District Hospital in Greater Manchester weighing 5lb 12oz.

Fast forward 40 years and thousands of couples have fulfilled their hopes of becoming parents VIA IVF. Louise Brown was the first of many children born via the IVF PROCESS.

A  process which has made the dreams of many couples including ours come true. Our first daughter was conceived via this process and I can truly say we are eternally grateful to have her in our lives.

Across the world this November, the birthday of the IVF process is being celebrated.

If you are still sitting on the edges wondering if this process is for you. A few stats may help you decide.

According to NHS

There are 1 In 7 couples with fertility problems.

6.5m IVF babies have been born worldwide since this technique began.

There are more than 325,000 IVF babies born from IVF to date.

24.8% of frozen embryo resulted in live birth.

26.5% of fresh embryo resulted in live birth.

15.6% resulted in multiple pregnancy

According to Resolve male fertility issues are as common as female, each represents 33% while unexplained is 33%.

Is IVF for you? This is a personal question one that can only be answered by you and your partner, taking into consideration the statistics as well as the cost of getting treatment.

Consider all the options available to you and make your decision of becoming a parent possible.

Leave us a comment and let us know your IVF story: we would love to hear from you.

Your Partner in Hope

D’Ebi.

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