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Why Many Men Can't Impregnate Their Wives Now! – Clinical Embryologist, AYODEJI ADEOYE Reveals

The inability to produce children is a problem that has been attached majorly to women in Nigeria and Africa at large. Take for instance at religious gatherings, you see the clerics holding special prayers for women who have been tagged different names. Names like waiting mothers, expectant mothers, etc are common nomenclature for women who fall into this category. The sad part of this tale is that most of these women become a victim of stigmatization which eventually affects their self-esteem or ego.

Our society sees a woman with the inability to give birth as incomplete and most times they are not regarded in any way by the families of her husband. While the woman herself does all she could to change her story. Men are never seen as the problem or a factor that can contribute to the problem faced by the couple.

The general notion is always about the woman being wayward or having lived a reckless sexual life before getting married. However, science has revealed that there are so many factors responsible for infertility in a family and the man factor in many occasions contribute a large quota to the said problem.

A gynaecologist who spoke to City People on the condition of anonymity revealed that most of his male clients are always very reluctant to come for check-ups and tests when the questions of infertility are being raised. He revealed that in many cases, there is always no problem with the woman. Instead, the man is the main culprit but his ego and ignorance would not allow him to come for a test.

Most men see themselves as superheroes or champions when it comes to fertility. They see their sexual prowess as being equal to the ability to impregnate their wives. This misconception has broken many marriages, the men would divorce their wives because they perceive her to be the problem and while the woman would go ahead and remarry, have her children, the man would still remain in the same position.

A study carried out by Nordica Fertility Center a few years ago revealed that about 12 percent of Nigerian men have no sperm cells at all. These men in question often ejaculate like others but the problem that they cannot understand is that their sperm cells are dead. In other words, they cannot fertilize any egg to produce children. Have you heard of this terminology, ‘spermagedon’? It came up after a research that revealed that there is a global reduction in sperm counts.

Is that to say that women don’t contribute to infertility or do not always have that problem? No is the answer. A lot of women have different problems that have led to infertility. What we are driving at here is that men as much as women also contribute to infertility. And to prove this point beyond any scientific doubt, Mr AYODEJI ADEOYE, a clinical embryologist with Nordica Fertility Center during a webinar tagged ‘the struggle with male factor infertility revealed what often leads to infertility among men.

The webinar was organized by Nordica Fertility Center in conjunction with the Association for Fertility and Reproductive Health (AFRH) dealt basically with the different causes of male factor infertility and possible solutions. Below are excerpts of the lecture as captured by City People’s DAMILARE SALAMI 08155134152, read on…

Male factor infertility according to the World Health Organisation WHO, is the presence of greater or equal to one abnormality in the semen analysis or the presence of inadequate sexual or ejaculatory function. The semen analysis checks certain parameters in the semen to certify it ok. These parameters include concentration, motility and morphology of the semen. The concentration is put at 15 million per ml, the motility is 32 percent progressive motility while for morphology, we have 4 percent strict criteria. If there is any anomaly in these 3 parameters, it is concluded that the man has male factor infertility. Another thing is the presence of inadequate sexual or ejaculatory function. Generally, the male factor alone contributes up to 30 percent of cases of infertile couples and another 32 percent of both; and an additional 30-40 percent in combination with other factors. Approximately 2 percent of all men will exhibit some of the optimal sperm parameters mentioned earlier. Men are seriously experiencing a decline in sperm concentration. Before now, it was assumed that the issue of infertility has to do with women alone but with the advent of science and a lot of things that are being unravelled, it is now clear that men also play a pivotal role when it comes to infertility. Despite half of the infertility cases involving male factors, men have been largely neglected in terms of research, diagnosis and treatment.

What Are The Causes of Male Factor Infertility?

 Diabetes most especially types 2 is a major cause of male factor infertility. It has been reported that one in four men has a low testosterone level and this testosterone level affects sperm production, it affects concentration and it causes low sex drive. There are certain infections too that can also affect sperm production. This includes the inflation of the epididymis, untreated or mistreated STIs, cancer disease or treatment such as chemotherapy, hormonal disorders, ejaculatory dysfunctions and autoimmune disorders. About 2.1 percent of male factor infertility is as a result of the gene; i.e. it is genetically motivated. Cystic Fibrosis that means the absence of the vas deferens organ which transports sperm from production to the urethra for ejaculation; once this is absent, it will affect sperm production.

Other causes of male factor infertility are environmental and lifestyle factors. Extended exposure to certain chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, organic solvents and paint materials may contribute to low sperm counts. Occupations that expose men to heavy flames retardants like fire-fighting, petroleum workers, etc. make them susceptible to a high level of DNA damage that reduces the quality of sperms.

Other lifestyle factors that cause male infertility are smoking, drugs, alcohol, obesity, stress, sedentary lifestyle, poor quality of life, etc. are major contributors to the poor quality of sperm.

Rising rate of obesity: research has also revealed that people that are obese or with high BMI have low sperm quality, the motility and morphology are low compared to people with low BMI. Cigarette smoking, especially the components are toxins and it affects the concentration of sperm motility and morphology. It also affects the DNA as well and we know that the DNA is very important when it comes to sperm matters.

Use of Cell Phones: A research carried out at Nordica Center’s Fertility Clinic to check how the use of cell phones affects semen analysis and out of four groups, it was discovered that people who don’t use cell phones at all have high concentration sperm cells, people who for 2 hours per day have relatively high sperm cell concentration, people who use cell phones between 2-4 hours have low sperm concentration and people those of 4 hours and above have very low sperm concentrations. The common cause of sperm DNA damage has been shown to be oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is stress built on the system and it is caused by the presence of free radicals.

What are the solutions?

Some of the solutions to this prevalent problem may include but not limited to; modifiable lifestyle factors, frequent ejaculation of about 3 hours difference and antioxidant treatments. Antioxidant therapies like vitamin e, vitamin c (1000mg), coenzyme q10, folic acid, zinc, selenium and lycopene all play significant roles.

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