Mohan (35 years) an IT professional and Sunita (29 years) a homemaker, were going through a difficult phase in their married life, as their naturally conceived pregnancies were not lasting more than 2-3 months. In their 5 years of marriage, Sunita unfortunately suffered from 4 such miscarriages, none lasting for more than 3 months.
When all infertility checks performed on Sunita were negative, Mohan realised that his medical condition could be causing the miscarriages. His tests at a diagnostic centre, revealed sperm abnormalities.
Trying to solve this problem, Mohan tried all sorts of alternative medical treatment – ayurvedic, allopathic, homeopathic and herbal treatments. However, none of these treatments showed any improvement in his sperm parameters.
The couple then visited Nova IVF Fertility, Pune and met with the fertility consultant to find a solution. At Nova, apart from Sunita’s routine scan, they were also advised a detailed semen analysis, which showed considerably low sperm count, inadequate motility and morphology. DNA fragmentation index (DFI) indicated that the integrity of the sperm was abnormally raised.
The fertility consultant at Nova advised the husband the MACS or Magnetic Activated Cell Sorting and Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection or ICSI technique of performing IVF (in-vitro fertilisation), a superior and proven technique to not just select the best of the sperms but also to achieve better fertilisation. MACS cell sorting technique was used to select genetically normal sperms and then inject these sperms into the egg. Using this technique, not only did they get the best quality sperm, but also achieved fertilisation with least quantity of sperm.
Post successful performance of these procedures, the embryo culture output was better than expected and good quality blastocysts with favourable morphology were formed. With just a single embryo transfer, the wife conceived and soon there was no looking back. It was a healthy pregnancy. The much-awaited foetal heartbeat was picked up soon and they went on to deliver a heathy child after 9 months.
Causes of male infertility
In India, infertility is mostly perceived as a women-centric problem. However, infertility is a disease which can be caused by both male and female factors and is not gender specific. Infertility is a high disease burden in India with about 22 – 33 million couples being infertile. While the female factor accounts for about 40 – 50%, the male factor also has a considerable large proportion to contribute, ranging between 30 – 40%.
There are several such cases of male factor problems and raised sperm fragmentation. Overexposure to certain environmental factors, such as heat, toxins, and chemicals, has also proven to negatively affect the production of sperm in men. Industrial chemicals, heavy metals like lead, overheating of testicles by sitting for long hours, or working on a laptop/computer for long stretches of time, or use of tight undergarments, impair the production and functioning of sperms.
Other factors that lead to poor quality of sperms, are the illicit use of drugs like anabolic steroids, taken to stimulate muscle strength and growth, the use of cocaine or marijuana, and excessive consumption of alcohol and tobacco smoking. Further, stress and obesity, also reduce fertility in men.
Procedures to enhance male fertility
With poor quality sperm being one of the major causes of male infertility, modern technology allows fertility specialists to choose the best and the healthiest sperm for the process of ICSI, thereby increasing the chances of pregnancy. MACS (Magnetic Activated Cell Sorting) is one such advanced ART technique that aids the success rates of IVF/ICSI. The advances in science and use of appropriate technology, have helped many couples treat infertility and achieve successful outcomes, to have a child.
There are several causes for infertility. Consulting a doctor who specialises in reproductive medicine, can help couples who are going through recurrent miscarriages, to figure out the cause of the infertility and identify the best treatment.