According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, male factor infertility is the inability to conceive a kid after a year of unprotected intercourse.
The Mayo Clinic cites the standard sperm range to be between 15 million to more than 200 million sperm per ml of semen. If a person has lower than 15 million sperm per ml, he is known to have a low sperm count, which can cause issues.
What Is Male Infertility, And Why Is It Important To Talk About It?
These issues with the presence of sperms in semen can be caused mainly due to age (over 40 years), excessive alcohol usage, obesity, toxins in the environment, specific medications, and regular exposure to extreme temperatures.
Another cause, according to studies, could be varicocele which is an enlargement of the veins that are present in the scrotum, which can, in most cases, be corrected by a surgery called ‘varicocelectomy’, which is relatively simple.
Unfortunately, this list isn’t simple, says Chloe Melas, who is a reporter for CNN. She mentioned that she and her husband found themselves struggling to understand their inability to conceive a child because her husband is a longtime athlete who has appeared on the cover of Men’s Health magazine two times. He also considers himself the epitome of health as he does not consume alcohol, smoke, or do any drugs. He has not been known to be exposed to any of the conditions that might induce a low sperm count either.
She added that their fertility doctor said that at times male infertility cannot be explained quite so easily and clearly and has left doctors scratching their heads for decades. The doctor also said that it can be frustrating because things will get better only if he does a good job.
What Can One Do After Being Diagnosed With Infertility?
One might wonder about the costs of treatment for infertility. It is definitely more cost-effective to fix the male problem than go to Assisted Reproductive Technology.
One round of IVF in the country can cost more than $12,000, and this does not even include the medication!
The first move should be to change your daily lifestyle. Sometimes, if you work out a little too much, it could cause problems. Stress reduction, a better quality of sleep, rest, and even yoga can have a bigger impact than anything else.
After you start these practices, you could go to medical therapy based on hormones. One of the other medical therapies you could go to could be Clomid, a prenatal supplement for men. If this fails to work, you could go to surgical therapy, which is generally more expensive. If all else fails, ART could be your last resort.
Normalizing The Issue
Women speak out relatively freely when it comes to infertility as compared to men. Thanks to Michelle Obama, and Khloe Kardashian, among others, the topic of infertility is in the process of being normalized. People are embracing each other through self-help groups and rallies.
On the flip side, not a single man of note has come out to speak about male infertility.
It has been culturally and socially acceptable for women to express their feelings. Twenty years ago, women were definitely not speaking about their infertility as much as they are right now. It is much more of a struggle for men to speak about it as it hurts the stereotypical macho perception that men have built of themselves.
Prominent male individuals must come out and speak about their experiences. This would help normalize the issue. Fertility has and always will be a taboo subject. The ability to reproduce has been tied up to “manhood”, so it happens to be an enormous threat to the male ego while it definitely shouldn’t be.
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