Oligospermy in Germany: how does this condition affect male fertility?

When discussing male infertility, the focus is often on the most common causes. However, it is important to consider that certain abnormalities may be linked to other underlying conditions or diseases, which can potentially give rise to additional complications. Early detection of these issues offers the opportunity for correction or exploration of more effective alternative solutions.

Oligospermy is one of the prevalent and consequential conditions that can impede conception in males. It is characterized by a reduced sperm count in the semen. According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), a man is considered to have oligospermy if his sperm concentration is less than 15 million spermatozoa per milliliter.

Oligospermy can be attributed to various factors, including hormonal disorders, testicular issues, or infections. Besides, it is often associated with other conditions, some of which are described below:

Cryptorchidism: a condition associated with oligospermy

Cryptorchidism refers to the condition wherein one or both testicles fail to descend into the scrotum before birth. This can give rise to fertility difficulties because the undescended testicles are exposed to elevated temperatures, which can impact the production of sperm.

Cryptorchidism predominantly affects a single testicle in about 80% of cases, with the left testicle being the most commonly affected. Bilateral cryptorchidism, where both testicles are undescended, is less frequent. To mitigate the risk of fertility difficulties, boys diagnosed with cryptorchidism should undergo surgical intervention to bring down the testicles into the scrotum before the age of 2 years.

Varicocele

Testicular varicocele is a condition characterized by the enlargement of veins that supply blood to the testicles. This dilation can lead to an increase in testicular temperature, which can adversely affect sperm production. While it is more commonly observed in one testicle, it can also affect both. When varicocele affects both testicles, it is more likely to contribute to infertility.

Additionally, testicular varicocele can lead to a condition called oligoasthenoteratozoospermia, which is characterized by low-quality spermatozoa in terms of both quantity and quality, including motility and morphology.

It can certainly improve if properly treated, and surgery is usually the most effective treatment, especially in severe cases.

Hypogonadism and oligospermy: links in reproductive health

Male hypogonadism refers to the condition in which the testicles do not produce an adequate amount of sex hormones, including testosterone. This hormonal imbalance significantly affects sperm production and can lead to infertility.

Male hypogonadism can be classified into two main types:

  • In cases of primary hypogonadism, the testes experience dysfunction caused by internal problems. Klinefelter’s syndrome, one of the most prevalent genetic disorders within this category, can lead to reduced testosterone levels, decreased muscle mass, inadequate development of facial and body hair, and diminished sperm production.
  • Secondary hypogonadism occurs when there is a problem in the hypothalamus or pituitary glands, which are responsible for producing the hormones that stimulate sperm production in the testes.

The treatment approach for hypogonadism varies depending on the type of the condition. In certain cases, hormonal treatment can be employed to restore testicular function and enhance sperm production, thereby increasing the chances of improved fertility.

Hydrocele

Testicular hydrocele is a condition where fluid builds up around one or both testicles. It can occur either from birth (congenital) or develop later in life (acquired), and it is more prevalent in men who are 40 years of age or older.

Hydrocele is generally not a direct cause of infertility, although it may be associated with infertility in around 10% of cases. In these instances, it can lead to a partial obstruction of the vas deferens, potentially resulting in a decreased sperm count in the semen.

Oligoasthenoteratozoospermia

Oligoteratozoospermia refers to a condition where the concentration of spermatozoa in the semen is low, and the shape of the spermatozoa is abnormal. This term combines two observations from a spermogram: “oligo,” indicating a low sperm concentration (less than 15 million per milliliter), and “terato,” representing a low percentage of sperm with normal morphology (less than 4%). The presence of abnormal sperm morphology can hinder fertilization and potentially affect the development of embryos.

For men with severe oligoteratozoospermia who desire to conceive, in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is typically recommended. This procedure involves the selection of sperm with good morphology under a microscope, which are then directly injected into the egg. This technique enhances the likelihood of developing a healthy embryo.

Are you from Germany? Get an accurate diagnosis for better results

Although these diagnoses may dampen the hopes of men who aspire to have a family, it is essential to understand the positive significance of detecting and addressing these conditions on time. This realization can mark a transformative phase in enhancing fertility and promoting overall health.

It is recommended to maintain regular general check-ups to not only enhance the likelihood of starting a family but also to prevent the occurrence of these diagnoses, which can have irreversible consequences. These conditions have the potential to impact the health and well-being of individuals.

If you or someone you know is facing challenges in conceiving or experiencing complications related to the symptoms described above, it is crucial to seek assistance from specialized clinics that focus on oligospermy, male fertility, and assisted reproduction, such as Babynova Clinic by Novafem. Contacting such clinics will provide valuable guidance and enable prompt treatment for these concerns.

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