The ‘M’ factor

Changing lifestyle is one of the major causes of male infertility

Over the last 50 years, the rapid expansion of the chemical industry in both developed and developing worlds has resulted in the release of a plethora of xenobiotics (molecules foreign to biological systems) into the environment. Xenobiotics and other environmental factors such as radiation can act directly on male germ cells within the mature testis, leading to male infertility.

According to Dr Amit Patankar, Infertility Specialist (DNB DGO, MNA MS), Patankar Hospital Pvt Ltd Pune, "Over 12 to18 million couples in India are diagnosed with infertility every year. Out of which, male infertility is very much rampant with 50 per cent cases attributed to it. There are many factors – lifestyle, genetics and physiology – that might explain low sperm count, slow sperm mobility, abnormal sperm shape and many more.

Additionally, environment pollution such as vehicle emissions, industrial waste, and pesticides cause male infertility".

Urban stressful lives are causing hormonal imbalance in men, which in turn negatively affect fertility. Stress stimulates the pituitary to release prolactin, primarily a lactation hormone in females. This hormone in men has been implicated to reduce sperm count in males. A thyroid hormone imbalance also affects the sperm production thus rendering men sub fertile.

Opines Dr Amit Patankar, "Smoking, chronic alcohol and drug abuse, prolonged anabolic steroid use, faulty diet which is deficient in vital nutrients, increased intake of caffeine, lack of exercise and exposure to environmental toxins seriously affect the sperm quality and count in males".

The problem of male infertility is much larger than it looks. Research has revealed that male infertility has affected many couples over the past four decades. Studies have also revealed that infertile men contribute to nearly one third of infertility issues that have been reported so far. This is why it is so important for both male and female to undergo fertility tests during the initial screening.

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