Infertility is on the increase in Nigeria. The population that is involved with regard to infertility is as high as 20-25 per cent of married couples. One in five couples have fertility problem and the trend is on the increase for two reasons.
One, there is increased awareness about the problem. Secondly, there are more problems that are occurring within the body that are technology-related.
They include the following…
For men and women, the first type of stress is emotional stress simply because ours is a highly stressed society. From home to work, and every other thing in-between, they are all stress-related.
Continue reading after the cut....
Continue reading after the cut....
There is stress in getting on the traffic on the road; there is stress in achieving what you want to do. There is fear of armed robbery, while financial stress is also there. The level of stress that goes into planning a marriage ceremony and the money spent by the couple are all stress-inducing. All these have far-reaching consequences on a centre in the brain called the hypothalamus – the centre that controls some of the reproductive functions.
Stress is a condition that triggers the stress (adrenal) gland. In women, when there is too much pressure on the adrenal gland, it will affect the ovary. In men, stress is known to reduce sperm production by 15 per cent. It destroys the spermatozoa.
Many people now marry late. Twenty years ago, most women got married at the age of 25 or even earlier. Today, people are getting married at the age of 32 or older. For men, it is even slightly higher. At this age, reproductive function is already declining. Based on statistics, someone who is between 16 and 21 years old has a fertility rate of about 75 per cent. By the time you get to age 40, it would have declined to eight per cent.
There are too many things in our environment that lead to infertility. For instance, excessive use of alternative energy leads to the release of hydrocarbons, with far-reaching consequences on the sperm production process in men and the ovulation process in women. These days, almost every house has a generator, which releases fumes and pollute the air whenever they are switches on. Again, areas reserved for residential are sometimes converted for commercial use. When they switch on their generators, serious toxins fill the air, polluting it.
Poor water source
We don’t have enough regulation to control our water system and there are a lot of poisons being released into the water system. In some cases, petrol stations are sited near the river. We site soap and dry cleaning industries in odd places. These have serious consequences on fertility.
Men firing blank
When it comes to infertility, the male factor is rising. The use of hard drugs, smoking, alcohol and marijuana use have far-reaching effects on sperm count and sperm production.
Those who work with heavy metals and those who work in hydro- and petrochemical industries are at risk. Men working in plastic and paint industries are also at risk, because the chemicals in use are known to damage the sperm.
Sperm count hitherto
Ten years ago, when you have 10 couples with infertility problem, it almost always had to do with tube blockage, while those who are unable to ovulate may be 15-20 per cent. For the men, it could be low sperm count. Then, you could help them if you concentrate the sperm and inseminate the woman with it. But today, you are having as high as between 35 and 40 per cent of men with low sperm.
A substantial per cent, say 15-20 per cent, need sperm donor for artificial insemination of their wives through the procedure we call intracytospemic sperm injection, simply because their sperm cannot achieve anything. A low percentage of men have obstruction to the sperm, which are genetical factors whereby the pathway is blocked. So, you have to do a special procedure called testicular extraction to extract the sperm from the testis and then employ it for ICSI to achieve fertilisation.
Sperm count is the amount of sperm that is produced in semen. When a man ejaculates, he comes up with a fluid, either grey or yellowish in colour. The semen contains very small cells known as spermatozoon for one and spermatozoa for many. Normally, it should be 60 million in one ml and a man should be able to produce about 2-3mls per ejaculate. So, you will be expecting about 120-200 million sperms in that ejaculate.
You could have oligospermia, in which case the sperm is there, but in small quantity. Anything below 40 per cent or 40 million per ml is oligospermia. However, a man that has 10 million sperm cells can get a young lady that is very fertile pregnant; whereas a man that has 40 million sperm cells and has an old or not-so-fertile wife may find it difficult to impregnate the woman.
Men may also suffer from azoospermia (the lack of sperm cells in the semen); or aspermia, which means the complete lack of semen in the ejaculate.
There is also low motility – in which case, the sperms are there, but they are not very motile; they can’t move all the way to the tube from the vagina. By the time they get to the uterus, most of them are dead because they are slow moving.
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