Thu, May 11, 2006 - Page 4 News List

Men accounting for growing number of infertility problems


Clinical observations in recent years have shown a gradual decline in male fertility in the country, with four out of 10 cases of infertility being attributed to men. The reasons behind the problem are lower sperm counts, higher incidence of abnormalities in spermatozoa and lower sperm motility.

According to doctors, one precautionary measure men can take against infertility is to increase their intake of foods containing the anti-oxidants vitamin C and vitamin E.

There are many similar reports coming from other countries around the world: Research carried out in Belgium using donated semen revealed that the percentage of local men producing substandard semen rose from 5 percent to 40 percent during the 15-year period between 1980 and 1995.

Lin Ming-hui (林明輝) of Mackay Memorial Hospital's infertility clinic gave a lecture on the influence of the quality of male sperm on test-tube babies last week in Taipei, as part of the 20th anniversary of its Center for Reproductive Medicine.

According to Lin, every milliliter of semen should have a sperm count of at least 20 million, at least half of which should exhibit normal movement, and less than 30 percent of which should demonstrate abnormalities.

The incidence of sperm levels and quality considered as substandard was becoming more and more common, leading to difficulties in couples being able to conceive naturally.

Lin said infertility in Taiwan is considered an embarrassing problem, and that men often react negatively when it is suggested the reason their wife is experiencing trouble getting pregnant lies with the man.

There are many possible causes of male infertility, including the presence of heavy metals such as lead or aluminum in the environment, the intake of medicines or foods containing female hormones, or even global warming, all of which could influence the levels of male hormones in men's bodies.

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