Mr Bamiro Babajide, a Medical Laboratory Scientist, on Thursday said that male infertility was a major factor responsible for childlessness among couples. Bamiro is the Head of Reproductive Hormone and Fertility Regulation Unit, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Medicine, University of Lagos.
He told the Newsmen in Lagos that “Primarily, infertility is due to inability of a couple to achieve pregnancy after one year of unprotected intercourse. “Infertility is defined as a disease of the reproductive system that impairs the body’s ability to perform the basic function of reproduction. “Conception normally is achieved within one year between 80 per cent and 85 per cent of couples who use no contraceptive measures during sexual intercourse.
“Wives who are unable to conceive after this time should, therefore, be regarded as possibly being infertile and should be evaluated. “Approximately 15 per cent of couples attempting their first pregnancy meet with failure and fall into this category,” he said. According to him, when a couple’s inability to procreate is due to the male factor, the man is then believed to be suffering from male infertility.
“Most cases of infertility in our society are blamed on the woman but male infertility is for real, it accounts for 40 per cent of infertility cases and a critical factor in childlessness. “Available data over the past 20 years revealed that in approximately 30 per cent of such cases, pathology is found in the man alone, and in another 20 per cent both the man and woman are abnormal. “Therefore, the male factor is partly responsible in between 40 per cent and 50 per cent cases of infertility among couples,” Bamiro said.
He identified chronic consumption of alcohol, use of anabolic steroid , excessive stress and overly intense exercise as causes of infertility and testicular shrinkage. “Excessive stress and overly intense exercise produce high levels of adrenal steroid hormones which cause a testosterone deficiency resulting in infertility. “Inadequate Vitamin C and Zinc in the diet, malnutrition and anemia can also lead to infertility in men. “Also obesity causes leptin insensitivity in the hypothalamus, which in turn, alters the release of gonadotropin,’’ he said.
The expert also said that there were other chromosomal or genetic causes of male infertility that could not be detected without proper clinical testing and diagnosis. He said that men who are suffering from infertility should subject themselves to seminal fluid analysis in a medical laboratory and be counseled on its management and treatment.
According to him, the most suitable technique for an individual in this category will be determined by a reproductive expert after proper evaluation. Bamiro urges the public, most especially couples who are unable to procreate after one year of unprotected intercourse, to seek medical attention for proper care. “Do not wait until it is too late because infertility declines with age, in both male and female,” he said.