Reality check: In Dubai, 1 in 5 couples face infertility-related issues.
In almost 50 per cent of the cases, men are the causative factor, according to a study of UAE males, both expatriates and Emiratis.
The reality of male infertility is, in fact, a worldwide issue – as reported by a number of studies.
What are the causes?
Modern-day lifestyle matters such as obesity, diabetes, smoking, and stress – those are the main contributing factors
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that in 2015, 60–80 million couples worldwide suffer from infertility.
The study was conducted by the Bourn Hall Fertility Centre, Dubai, in the first quarter of 2017 and it included a sample of about 100 men across several nationalities between ages 25 and 56.
Dr David Robertson, who’s a medical director of the center and a consultant in reproductive medicine and infertility, told Gulf News: “Our sample had a mix of British, North American, Indian, Pakistani, Filipinos, Arab expats [Jordanian, Syrian] and Emiratis, among others.”
So, what causes this problem?
Dr Robertson explains that both a drop in the number of sperm, and a deterioration in its quality contribute to infertility.
“Male infertility occurs when a man has a lesser sperm count than expected in a sample.”
What’s the normal count? About 15 million sperms per ml sample, says the World Health Organisation.
“Apart from the count per ml, another important factor is motility or movement of the sperms. They must be moving in a purposeful way,” says Dr Robertson, a UK-trained fertility specialist who leads medical and technical teams in Dubai and India.
“So, although both the count and the motility are important, the latter is more important. Even if the sperm count falls to 10 million per sample, it could work if the sperm motility is good.”
“More men are coming forward to own up to their infertility problems. The very fact that we were able to get a high male infertility factor at our clinic goes to show that many men are coming forward to get their sperm count tested,” said Dr Robertson.