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