The joy of parenthood doesn’t come easy to some as they face infertility issues. Both men and women can contribute to infertility. Infertility in men is on the rise in the last 20 years due to lifestyle changes, lack of exercise, consumption of junk food, excessive use of gadgets, pollution, environmental toxins, smoking, and many other factors. Issues in sperm transport and genetic disorders can also cause infertility. In this blog, let us know in detail about the sperm pathway and infertility caused due to sperm transport issues in the male reproductive system and the treatment options for the same.
To understand in detail where and how sperm is produced and transported, we have to know about the parts of the male reproductive system.
Male Reproductive System-Parts:
- Seminiferous tubules
- Vas Deferens
- Seminal Vesicle
- Ejaculatory Duct
The sperms are produced in seminiferous tubules inside the testes. From here, sperms travel to Epididymis and then to Vas deferens. From Vas deferens, the sperm enter the seminal vesicle and here some secretions get added up to sperm. Before entering the urethra, the sperm along with seminal fluid reaches the Prostate gland. Here again, a milky fluid gets added to the sperm. Now the sperm along with fluid is termed semen. In the end, semen gets ejaculated from the penis.
Sperm transport issues and infertility:
As per WHO, normal sperm count refers to ≥ 16 million sperm per each ml of semen. For the process of fertilization, sperms have to travel through several tubes before they could enter the female reproductive system. Problems in the transport of sperm may be due to damage in sperm ducts or the absence of ducts which can lead to problems in conceiving. This is termed obstruction and there can be 3 causes that can cause obstruction namely, congenital disorder, obstruction due to surgery, and obstruction due to any infection/disease.
Obstruction due to Congenital Disorder:
- Lack of vas deferens
- Absence of seminal vesicles
Obstruction due to Surgery:
Vasectomy is the most common surgery that can lead to a complete absence of sperm.
Obstruction due to Diseases:
Sexually transmitted diseases can result in the blockage of ducts.
Azoospermia is one of the most common issues in male infertility wherein no sperm is found in the semen. This can be due to injury, infection, surgery, genetic causes such as Kallmann syndrome, Klinefelter’s syndrome, hormonal imbalances, diseases like Diabetes, conditions like varicocele, etc.
Treatment Options for sperm transport issues:
- Surgical Management:
Micro-TESE (retrieval of sperm directly from testes), varicocelectomy, and vasectomy reversal can help in overcoming infertility.
- Medical Management:
Hormonal treatment with Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (hCG) can help men with hormonal issues.
- Lifestyle Changes:
Following a healthy diet regimen, regular exercise, and other lifestyle modifications can enhance sperm production.
If men have problems in conceiving, it is important to consult a fertility specialist without any delay. Advanced fertility treatments are available to help men overcome infertility and achieve fatherhood. There is hope!