The high rate of infertility amongst men of child bearing age is becoming a major source of concern to reproductive experts.
Speaking with OSUN DEFENDER on this issue, a Reproductive Endocrinologist at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex, (OAUTHC), Ile-Ife, Dr. Ayodele Caleb Onigbinde stated that the primary cause of male infertility is the lack of production of healthy sperm.
He stated that for the production of healthy sperm, it involves the growth and formation of the male reproductive organs during puberty.
“At least, one of the testicles must be functioning correctly, and the body must produce testosterone and other hormones to trigger and maintain sperm production.
“Sperm have to be carried into the semen. Once sperm are produced in the testicles, delicate tubes transport them until they mix with semen and are ejaculated out of the penis”.
Onigbinde also hinted that there is need for sperm to be enough in the semen.
“If the number of sperm in the semen (sperm count) is low, it decreases the odds that one of the sperm will fertilize your partner’s egg. A low sperm count is fewer than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen or fewer than 39 million per ejaculation”.
He also added that, sperm must be functional and able to move and if the movement (motility) or function of the sperm is abnormal, the sperm may not be able to reach or penetrate the egg in a female ovum.
Other reasons for male infertility as adduced by Onigbinde include a number of health issues and medical treatments, environmental, health and lifestyle.
These according to him, include Varicocele, which is a swelling of the veins that drain the testicle and is the most common reversible cause of male infertility.
Others include infections, ejaculation issues, antibodies that attack sperm, tumors, undescended testicles, hormone imbalances, defects of tubules that transport sperm, chromosome defects, problem with sexual intercourse, celiac disease, medications, past surgeries.
Others, according to him, are industrial chemicals, heavy metal exposure, overheating the testicles (wearing of tight undergarments), illicit drug and alcoholic use, tobacco smoking, emotional stress and obesity.