Infertility is the inability of a couple to have a child. A couple is considered infertile if after about twenty four months of regular sexual intercourse without any form of contraception, the woman is unable to conceive. Infertility can be primary or secondary. In primary infertility, a pregnancy has never occurred while in secondary infertility, there has been a previous pregnancy.
In those days, women were mainly blamed for childlessness in a family but today the situation is different; both men and women appear to be equally at fault but actual percentages varies from country to country. In Nigeria, it is about 50/50.
Several reasons account for infertility in men as discussed below.
1. Failure to produce sperm
A man may fail to produce sperm, a condition called azospermia. This could be due to undescended testes which were not brought to the appropriate location on time. A few babies are born with their testes inside the bodies. If the testes are not brought out on time by surgical operation, they will be destroyed by the temperature in the body and consequently cannot produce sperm at the appropriate time. The testes can also be destroyed by a disease called mumps; this is a viral infection which presents itself as a soft swelling around the lower jaws.
2. Low sperm count
A man needs a minimum number of sperm cells to be able to impregnate a woman. Sperm count can be affected negatively by hormonal problems, drugs, radiation, varicocele and infections. Such infections include chlamydial infections and gonorrhoea.
Varicoceles could occur in the testis, they raise the temperature in the testis and this kills sperm cells thus reducing the sperm count. If you notice anything unusual, report to your doctor, most conditions are treatable/manageable.
3. Absence of sperm duct
This abnormality is rare but does occur. The sperm duct carries sperm from the testes to the penis, if it is absent, sperm produced by the man cannot get to the woman by natural means.
4. Poor Sperm Quality
Sperm cells could be of poor quality in which case they have abnormal shapes and are sluggish in motion. Such sperm cells cannot impregnate a woman. This condition could be due to smoking, pesticides and radiation
5. Blocked sperm duct.
The sperm duct which transfers sperm cells to the penis could be blocked due to gonorrhoea, chlamydial infections, injuries and some other ailments. If this happens, sperm produced by the man cannot get to the woman by natural means.
6. Chronic diseases.
The following conditions:-diabetes, kidney diseases and adrenal diseases can affect the quality and quantity of sperm and could cause infertility.