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Infertility in men: Why male infertility is on the rise? Tips to better your chances through IVF

The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that around 40% of male infertility is linked to men, 40% to women, and the remaining 20% is a combined issue of both partners. Some sources even claim that male factors may contribute to 50% of infertility cases. 

Infertility in men: Why male infertility is on the rise? Tips to better your chances through IVF RBA
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First Published Jun 26, 2024, 7:30 AM IST

Infertility is a growing concern worldwide, and an often overlooked aspect of this issue is male infertility. Historically, reproductive challenges were predominantly attributed to women, but modern research highlights a significant rise in male infertility rates. This trend poses profound implications for public health, family dynamics, and societal structures.

World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that around 40% of male infertility is linked to men, 40% to women and the remaining 20% is a combined issue of both partners. Some sources even claim that male factors may contribute to 50% of infertility cases.

#Why male infertility is on the rise?

  • Environmental Factors

Exposure to environmental pollutants, such as pesticides, heavy metals, and endocrine-disrupting chemicals, can adversely affect sperm quality and quantity as they can disrupt hormonal balances crucial for sperm production

  • Lifestyle Changes

Factors such as poor diet, obesity, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and drug use are linked to lower sperm counts and motility. The increasing prevalence of sedentary lifestyles further exacerbates the issue

  • Medical Conditions

Medical conditions, including varicocele i.e. enlarged veins in the scrotum, infections, hormonal imbalances, uncontrolled diabetes, some antihypertensive and antipsychotics, and genetic disorders can impair male fertility.

  • Heat and Radiation Exposure

Frequent exposure to high temperatures, such as hot tubs, saunas, or prolonged laptop use on the lap, can affect sperm production. Similarly, radiation exposure, whether from occupational hazards or excessive use of electronic devices, may contribute to infertility

#Can infertility be countered by IVF?

As couples increasingly delay childbearing and face fertility challenges, assisted reproductive technologies (ART), particularly in vitro fertilization (IVF), have become critical tools in addressing infertility. When addressing male infertility, IVF often involves additional techniques to maximize the chances of success.

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“Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is particularly beneficial for men with very low sperm counts, poor sperm motility, or sperm that are not capable of penetrating an egg naturally. For men with no sperm in their ejaculate due to blockages or other issues techniques such as Testicular Sperm Extraction (TESE) or Percutaneous Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (PESA) can be used in conjunction with IVF and ICSI. The success rates depend on various factors, including the underlying cause of infertility, the age and reproductive health of the female partner, and the quality of the IVF clinic,” says Dr. Deepthi Bawa, Senior Consultant -Gynecologist, IVF Specialist, Laparoscopic & Cosmetic Gynaecology at SPARSH Bengaluru.

#Tips to improve your chances through IVF

  1. Working towards understanding the IVF options and process helps make the treatment effective
  2. Adopting a balanced diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals while avoiding processed food, excessive caffeine and sugary drinks along with an excellent exercise regime helps improve overall sperm health
  3. Quitting smoking and limiting alcohol intake can have a positive impact on sperm health
  4. Discuss with your doctor the possibility of taking fertility-enhancing supplements or medications. Supplements such as zinc, folic acid, and coenzyme Q10 can improve sperm quality
  5. Counseling or therapy can provide valuable support, helping you cope with stress, anxiety, and the emotional ups and downs of the IVF process
  6. Follow the treatment protocols and medication schedules precisely as your fertility specialist prescribes. This ensures the best possible outcome

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IVF, especially when combined with techniques like ICSI, offers a powerful solution for many cases of male infertility. By directly addressing issues such as low sperm count and poor motility, IVF can significantly increase the chances of conception for couples struggling with male infertility. By understanding the process, optimizing health, seeking support, and adhering to medical guidance, men can significantly improve their chances of achieving a successful pregnancy through IVF.

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