Infertility is when a couple fails to conceive even after a year of unprotected intercourse.
Pregnancy is normally achieved within 12 months.
Myths- One popular myth is that it is always the woman's problem.
Facts- In fact, in nearly 30% of all infertility cases, the cause is attributed to a problem in the male. In an additional 30% of cases, the cause is attributed to both male and female factors.
What Causes Male Infertility?
1. Childhood infections, hormonal disorders, genetic factors and physical abnormalities.
2. Men who smoke and drink alcohol have 13-17% lesser sperm count than others.
3. And today, stress and lifestyle diseases have also added to infertility woes.
4. Other causes - sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhoea or chlamydia, which may cause blockage of the tubes that carry sperms.
5. Mumps in childhood can also cause testicular damage and failure, and the absence of sperms.
6. Swelling of blood vessels around testes, can also lead to male infertility (Varicocele).
IUI: Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) -
Here, the semen is washed by special methods in a lab and a small quantity of sperms are placed, using a thin tube, inside the woman's womb. This is a simple, inexpensive procedure.
If the count is very low, the procedure of choice is Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), which is like a test-tube baby procedure. It's more of technical way to overcome hindrance in male factor.
Surgical Sperm Retrieval:
In cases where there are no sperms in the semen, but the hormone test is normal, sperms can be removed directly from the testes using a tiny needle. These technique called TESA, need no cut or major surgery. The sperms thus obtained are injected into the egg using the ICSI procedure.
In some cases, there is complete testicular failure with abnormal hormones and no sperms. In such cases, the only option is to use donor sperms. These are taken from a semen bank, which stores samples after screening them for infections like HIV and Hepatitis. This semen is then injected into the woman.