Males are the equal contributor in a couple’s infertility; it is not just a ‘woman’s problem’ says Dr Pallavi

Males are the equal contributor in a couple’s infertility; it is not just a ‘woman’s problem’ says Dr Pallavi
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Infertility is a problem suffered and yet hushed by many. It is a sensitive problem faced by many couples mostly from the urban population. According to the study and data, 10-15% of couples face infertility. In starting a family it requires the contribution of both the partners and males are an equal contributor in a couple’s infertility. Many lifestyle changes are contributing to the increasing rate of infertility amongst couples such as unhealthy lifestyles and diet, less physical exercise, and consumption of alcohol and smoke. It is a surprising fact that only 45% of couples visit a doctor when they are trying to conceive; only 1% of infertile couples seek treatment.

Infertility is often perceived as a women’s problem, this is a mentality that needs to be broken because in the process of getting pregnant it requires the contribution of both the partners. It is seen that many women go to see the doctors, on their own, when they can’t conceive and some come with their in-laws or parents. Women are often subjugated for not being able to bear a child even when the problem is with their male counterparts. Stats show that female infertility is at 40-50% and male infertility is at 30-40%.

If a woman is not able to conceive after many attempts, they go for a fertility test and fertility test stats reveal that male infertility is a common issue faced by many. The factors that account for male infertility are ejaculation difficulty, inability to maintain an erection, pain, and swelling in the testicle area, decreased facial or body hair, or chromosomal and even hormonal abnormality, and low sperm count.

Male infertility depends on the quantity and quality of the sperm, low sperm production, abnormal sperm function, or blockages that prevent the delivery of sperm. Many factors affect male fertility such as illnesses, injuries, chronic health problems, but the most prominent are lifestyle choices and factors. Some of the lifestyle factors that affect male’s fertility are:

- Smoking – Smoking is not only injurious to health but it can also harm the sperms as the nicotine present in cigarettes leads to an imbalance in one’s body that is known as oxidative stress. This can impact on sperm quality and can even lower the quality of sperms.

- Obesity- it is the head of all diseases and requires timely intervention as it can invite many other ailments that can be fatal. A BMI above 30 produces a negative impact on sperm quality, as fat deposits from unhealthy living can overload and influence the metabolism of androgens mainly testosterone. Hence a healthy and fit lifestyle is the key to all problems.

- Injuries to one’s genital area- testicular injury while playing rough sports like football, cycling, etc. can also lead to infertility. So it is necessary to protect and safeguard your genitals.

- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) - STI’s such as gonorrhoea or chlamydia alters the sperm quality hence inducing male fertility.

- Age- age plays a major role in both male and female fertility, it is said that after 55, one’s reproductive health may decline. So people should marry and plan a child at an appropriate age.

- Varicocele- this is the most common reversible cause of male infertility and it can be described as a swelling of the veins that drain the testicle. It lowers sperm quality but can be treated with surgery.

The mentality which says infertility is just a women’s problem should be broken and society needs to be educated about infertility problems. It is recommended that as soon as a couple finds out their infertility problem, they should take proper guidance and treatment from their respective fertility consultants. 

Also Read: 5 Crucial tips to get your relationship out of a rut as shared by Psychiatrist Dr Anuneet Sabharwal

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