Conception and childbearing have been traditionally considered as women’s issues for centuries in India. Though most men wish to start a family of their own and have children at some point, surprisingly very few are fully aware of reproductive health and fertility issues. Infertility is often seen as a female problem. Men in India slightly hesitate to get tested for infertility. The silence around infertility has further led to ignorance and misconceptions in men about fertility problems.
These are the following 7 important facts about infertility many Indian men probably don’t know about:
1. About 30% to 40% of infertility cases are due to ‘male factor infertility’
In a significant number of infertility cases in India, women are blamed for not being able to conceive. However, as per the global statistics of the World Health Organization, at least 30% of cases are due to ‘male factor infertility’. Male factor infertility can be a result of low sperm count, poor sperm motility, low testosterone levels or other factors.
2. Impotence and infertility are not the same
According to an opinion poll conducted by a Mumbai-based IVF clinic to understand infertility awareness levels in India, 59% of men, shockingly, don’t know the difference between infertility and impotence. Impotence, known in medical terminology as erectile dysfunction, refers to the inability to achieve and maintain an erection. Infertility, however, is failing to have a successful pregnancy and can be caused by multiple factors.
3. Fertility testing for men is necessary and often non-invasive
Indian men often refuse to get tested as male infertility is associated with manhood and honor. Moreover, they imagine fertility testing to be an invasive, highly uncomfortable business. But the first step in testing for male infertility is usually an evaluation of the patient’s health history, a normal physical exam, followed by sperm analysis.
4. Fertility treatments include a lot more options other than IVF
The common conception about fertility treatment revolves around test tube babies and in vitro fertilization. However, assisted reproductive technology includes a plethora of treatment options now. In fact, the first step of treatment is often simply scheduling intercourse in the right time. The opinion poll found that 84% of women and 81% of male participants are unaware of the availability of fertility saving options such as egg preservation and embryo freezing.
5. Infertility not only causes physical strain but also leads to mental anxiety and distress
According to doctors and fertility specialists, men are much less likely to ask for emotional or psychological support or to talk freely about problems related to infertility than women. However, undergoing infertility treatment is a very stressful and intense experience for a couple which also causes severe strain on the relationship. It is extremely important for both partners to receive adequate emotional support and guidance.
6. Age has a significant impact on male fertility too
Most people know that female fertility declines with age. But now there is growing evidence that age can also negatively impact male fertility. According to research, men aged 45 years or older suffer from lower sperm quality and older fatherhood also raises the chances of miscarriages, birth defects and the development of schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders in their children.
7. Factors like obesity and depression can contribute to male infertility
U.S. researchers have found that couples without male depression can have over twice the pregnancy rate than couples with male depression. An analysis of data by Stanford University and NICHD has also shown that increasing body mass index and waist circumference can negatively affect men’s ejaculate volume decreased. Obesity can also cause a decline in sperm count in men.
Infertility can be a tough subject to open up about, but it is not a taboo and you can find help and guidance to overcome it. We at Manipal Fertility are constantly striving to spread awareness and break the taboo of infertility in India. Correct information, guidance, help, and support will lead you to a happy parenthood and make this journey easier. If you are struggling with fertility issues or planning to conceive, connect with our IVF specialists for a FREE consultation here and begin to start your journey towards parenthood today.