Dr. Gautam Allahbadia talks about Azoospermia and Male Fertility Issues
Fertility has traditionally been an issue relating to women. Men were never considered infertile. However, growth in technology and scientific research has shown that men also have fertility issues. Getting diagnosed with infertility is not an easy thing to handle be it a man or a woman. Moreover, lack of knowledge and misunderstanding causes more emotional trauma to people diagnosed with infertility. Male fertility issues are one area that needs a lot of awareness as it is a sensitive issue and poses as a challenge to manhood in most cultures.
Azoospermia is one such problem that is commonly faced by men. Azoospermia is diagnosed when men have zero sperm count in their ejaculate. Sperm, which is made in the testicles, mixes with the fluid in the seminal duct to make semen, in the case of azoospermia the man may ejaculate the semen but it contains zero sperms. A simple semen analysis is done to diagnose this issue.
“Even though infertility is considered a disease by the World Health Organization, in many cultures there is a stigma attached to it, there is a considerable lack of information regarding it. Also, I believe that there is more stigma attached when a man is diagnosed with infertility” shares Dr. Gautam Allahbadia, an expert in Assisted Reproductive Techniques and a pioneer in IVF Lite or Minimal Stimulation IVF.
There are two types of azoospermia, obstructive and non-obstructive. Obstructive azoospermia is diagnosed when a man can produce sperm but due to some defect in the anatomy; usually bilateral absence of vas deferens or the tubes that bring the sperms to the male urethra, the sperm is not able to be ejaculated. The treatment is usually surgical sperm retrieval followed by ICSI or intracytoplasmic sperm injection.
Nonobstructive azoospermia’s etiology can be attributed to the failure of spermatogenesis, testicular impairment, or inadequate gonadotropin production. There is no way to restore spermatogenesis in most cases and usually the patient ends up with surgical sperm retrieval via microsurgical procedures followed by ICSI.
Lifestyle changes, obesity, late pregnancy, age, alcohol, drug use, and many more things may
cause issues with conception. It is important to get enough sleep and manage chronic conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension as these can affect fertility. It is important to note that these lifestyle changes may not work for everyone and that fertility can be affected by a variety of factors. If a couple is not able to conceive after a year of unprotected intercourse, it would be prudent to seek guidance from a fertility expert.
Dr. Gautam Allahbadia explains “the mental pressure that a man faces after receiving the diagnosis is unparalleled, it is a social stigma and for a man to be diagnosed infertile comes with its own set of social and psychological problems. It is common to see men go through depression and anxiety due to diagnosis. However, there is hope because technology today provides solutions to all the problems”.
It can be helpful to talk to a therapist or join a support group of people with the same diagnosis or experiencing infertility. Sharing your feelings with others who understand what you are going through can provide a sense of comfort and validation. We as a society also need to manage our expectations and preconceived notions about fertility as it can be a highly emotional journey for people struggling to conceive.