Men are often exempted from scrutiny in matters of infertility while women bear the brunt of the “problem.” But it takes two to tango, and fertility knows no gender. This according to Dr Qinisile Diale who adds, that it just might be you brothers.
Makhanda podcaster, Kyran Blaauw (26) says that men have been “indoctrinated” to believe that if they cannot continue their bloodline and bring forth a child in relationships they are less of a man.
“It takes two to tango,” he says. “As a partner in the relationship you need to take ownership of your reproductive health and take steps to get yourself checked up before pointing fingers. This, so that you understand your reproduction health status.”
According to the African journal for reproductive health in developed and developing African countries, reports indicate an increased decline in human fertility and the prevalence rates of infertility range from 20-35% in the African region.
The World Health Organisation describes infertility as a disease of the male or female reproductive system which is characterised by the failure to achieve a pregnancy after 12 months or more following regular unprotected sexual intercourse.
Men are not immune
A 28-year-old male from Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu Natal, who anonymously spoke to Health For Mzansi says all the women he has slept with get pregnant when they leave him, but not with him.
“I suspect that I’m infertile because all of girls I dated never got pregnant when they were in a relationship with me, but soon after they broke up with me most of them were impregnated by other men,” he says.
Anonymous’ fear is that he is infertile, something that he can and should confirm with his doctor – a urologist.
While Gregory Itebogeng (29) from Durban believes that if a baby is not in the “cosmos” for a couple then both should get checked. He illustrates an experience with a family member. “My uncle has been married twice. He and his first wife struggles to have a baby for a couple of years and this had an impact on their marriage,” he says. “The strain got so bad that he had affair and that woman got pregnant.” His uncle divorced, while his ex-got remarried and conceived a child with another man.
That situation be believes is a sign that both men and women should consult doctors when they encounter challenges in the baby-making process.
The truth about infertility in men
Centurion fertility specialist Dr Qinisile Diale says infertility in men is largely associated with the quality and the quantity of the sperm.
Diale, is affectionately called Dr Q by her patients and is an obstetrician and gynaecologist. She is also the founder of Family Matters, Mzansi’s first female-owned fertility clinic.
Dr Q says, “the quality and quantity of the sperm can relate to the low sperm count of a person, abnormality in the shape of the sperm, poor swimming ability of the sperm that makes the sperm unable to fertilise the eggs.”
You might be asking yourself why any person would have the above-mentioned abnormalities in their sperm. Well, Dr Q says our lifestyle choices sometimes do affect the health of our sex cells.
“The consumption of recreational drugs, consumptions of excessive alcohol and smoking do affect the poor quality of the sperm and we often encourage men to stay fit, healthy, and exercise often,” she adds.
MANO-pause is a thing you know
Almost like women, age plays a very big role in the reproductive health of males, believe it or not.
Dr Q says, “There is something called male menopause. Even though this may happen slightly later in men than in women, but the quality and quantity of the sperm also deteriorates. It commonly happens after the age of 40.”
For those hoping to become fathers someday, Dr Q advises that you start visiting a urologist and check the probability that you might struggle making babies. “So that if you happen to be at risk of developing sperm abnormalities you can keep your sperm in the form of preserved fertility.”
Improve sperm health with the following foods:
- Organic veggies
- Less fried junk food
- Avoid overindulgence on high-fat dairy items
- Eat nuts