MedLines: Male Infertility (Part 2)

By Patience Joseph Mamman



Any condition that impairs or damages any of the structures of the male reproductive system can have a profound effect on fertility.
Some of such conditions are as follows:

a. Cryptochidism

This is the most common of the structural abnormalities. It is a condition usually seen in newborn infants in which the testicles fail to descend from the abdomen into the scrotum. It has a higher chance of occurence in premature male births. Crytochidism is associated with mild to moderate impairment of sperm production. Types of Crytochidism

  1. Undescended testes: where the testes fails to completely decsend into the scrotum.
  2. Retractile Testes: Here the testes descend ini the scrotal sac but retracts back into the abdomen from time to time. This happens most times due to excessive contraction of the cremasteric muscles of the scrotum. It can be stimulated by cold, fear, pain or stimulation of the genitofemoral nerve supplying that structure.
    Risk factors include low birth weight, premature male births, abuse of alcohol during pregnancy.

b. Hypospadias.

This is a birth defect in which the urinary opening is on the underside of the penis. In most cases the foreskin is under developed and does not wrap completely around the penis. In some cases a downward curvature of the penis is seen known as Chordee. This if not corrected in infancy can impair erection in adult life.

c. Blockage of the tubes.

Some men are born with congenital blockage in the epididymis or ejaculatory ducts that transport sperm. This hampers reproduction by blocking the passage of sperm into the cervix during coitus.

d. Hormonal Deficiencies

These are another factor that could precipitate male infertility. Any drop in production of the male hormones that are responsible for the optimum functioning of reproductive activity in a male is likely to lead to any of the abnormalities earlier discussed.

In conclusion, most of the abnormalities mentioned can be corrected to a large extent by surgical interventions and use of drugs if detected early enough, therefore proper and regular check up is highly recommended to aid early discovery for appropriate medical interventions.