Studies tell that 1 in 7 couples over the world is infertile which is quite a large number. Infertility means that the couple has not been able to conceive children or get pregnant despite one year of frequent, unprotected sexual intercourse.
Patriarchal norms and lack of knowledge often teach us to assume that the problem is always with the woman. But here’s the fact: male infertility is as probable a reason as female infertility.
But what is considered Male Infertility?
Male infertility is the condition where a man is unable to start a pregnancy with his female partner. It suggests a problem with his reproductive system which is why it needs attention and treatment.
Top causes of Male Infertility include:
• Low sperm motility/movement
• Abnormal shape and size of sperm
• Problems with semen
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Whatever be the reason behind male infertility, the hush-hush behind this taboo issue often leads to a lot of myths and untruths about it.
We have busted 5 major myths about male infertility so that you have your facts straight if someone tries to mislead you!
1. Myth: Infertility and Impotency are the same.
Fact: Infertility in men is the inability to achieve a successful pregnancy with his partner while impotence is the inability to achieve and maintain an erection during intercourse – in other words, sexual dysfunction.
Impotence often has its roots in psychological factors like stress, anxiety, trauma or even depression. But infertility is more of a physiological process due to lifestyle changes, hormone imbalance or genetic conditions.
2. Myth: Male Infertility makes you less of a man.
Fact: Your sperm count or semen health does not define your masculinity.
Traditional assumptions about gender equates fertility with being the perfect man which makes men feel less valued with their inability to conceive.
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Added to this, male infertility is rarely spoken about which leads to men feeling left out and feeling like an “Incomplete” man when diagnosed. But these are only false beliefs that should not affect the emotional well-being of infertile men.
3. Myth: Male fertility can be judged by looking at a man’s semen.
Fact: Fertility is judged by the presence of healthy sperm count and movement and not the way semen looks.
You would need a microscope to do this and the simple presence of numerous moving sperm does not assure this either. Fertility tests for men are conducted for this purpose.
Specialists need to conduct further tests to evaluate sperm quality – so do not listen to random people preaching about semen analysis!
4. Myth: Women are more prone to infertility and should be tested first.
Fact: Infertility problems are equally caused by men and women.
Infertility statistics show that male conditions are responsible for 35 to 40 percent of infertility cases, another 35 to 40 percent are caused by conditions in women while 20 to 30 percent are caused by combination of both.
So when someone asks to get the woman tested first for infertility, step up and volunteer to be tested together!
5. Myth: Being infertile does not affect health in general.
Fact: Infertile men are at a higher risk for certain cancers and heart related diseases.
This points to why men need to take infertility more seriously because this could be a precursor to other serious health disorders.
This can be taken as an opportunity to address not just reproductive health, but the man’s overall health. That’s what preventative medicine is all about!
Male Infertility is not the End
It can be frustrating when you cannot conceive and family planning does not work out as you want it to. But this is not the end of your reproductive life.
Fortunately, a lot of scientific research and study has gone into male infertility treatment. Most cases of infertility are treatable and a number of options are available for couples who are trying to conceive.
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World Infertility Awareness Month is observed is observed in June every year to spread awareness about the mental and physical hardships caused by this commonly experienced condition.
Inability to conceive can be stressful for both partners but with patient efforts and understanding, it can be made into a meaningful journey.
It’s to time shed the shame and stigma associated with male infertility and approach effective and safe solutions.