Ghanaian men have been advised to do sperm analysis to determine the quality of their sperm and assess their ability to impregnate a woman.
“Many people produce seminal fluid which has no sperm at all [and therefore cannot fertilise the egg of a woman],” Obstetrician Gynaecologist with the Lister Hospital, Dr Edem Hiadzi has said.
Discussing infertility in marriages on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, Friday, he said the ability of a man to impregnate his wife is completely dependent on the quality of his sperm.
“Since creation,” Dr Hiadzi said, “the onus has always been on the woman to prove the fertility of the couple.”
And yet several factors within the physiology of the man play a big part in whether or not he can make his wife pregnant.
A man may lack the ability to have a sustained erection and even where erection is not a problem, Dr. Hiadzi said, “the quality of the sperm provided, the volume, the density, the number of sperms in it, their speed, the direction of their movement, the shape of the sperm…are all attributes of the sperm that are required to be optimum for you to be able to fertilize the female egg.”
He said the woman being pregnant doesn’t necessarily mean the man’s sperm is good- the man can have very low sperm count but still impregnate a very fertile woman.
A very fertile woman and a less fertile man may not face a challenge conceiving and having babies.
The Gynaecologit naturally took listeners into a reproductive health class, explaining that “the sperm is produced in the testis and travel up through a long duct before it is ejaculated.”
That is not the end of the journey for the life-giving liquid.
After getting into the female tract, the sperm has to continue travelling through a long tract through the cervix into the tubes before fertilizing the egg for conception to occur.
This long journey means that the sperm must have a lot of energy to be able to complete the trip.
“So even after production, if energy isn’t there, you can’t reach your goal [of fertilizing the egg, thereby impregnating the woman],” Dr Hiadzi said.
He said infections can cause a blockade on the duct or tracts and prevent and prevent the sperm from travelling the distance.
He also advised against delaying pregnancy until a later time, saying that reduces the chances of pregnancy.
“Eggs are not available throughout the lifetime of a woman,” he said. The best time, therefore, to have children, he advised, “is between the ages of 18 to 34.” Older people suffer major reduction in the quality and number of eggs produced by the woman.
At a younger age, “your eggs are better then, your body is healthier and better prepared to go through the process of carrying a child; you are less likely to have other diseases that go with ageing like hypertension and diabetes which will make your pregnancy more complicated.”
He said postponing pregnancy until “you are more comfortable is a negative factor.”
Amongst women, he said infections like gonorrhea and chlamydia destroy the tubes and make pregnancy difficult.
These infections are largely contracted through sex especially with multiple sex partners, but also indiscriminate use of herbs in the vagina.
Dr Hiadzi said since the majority of herbs are not properly sterilized, they leave organisms that cause damage to the reproductive organ.
He preached safe sex and care in the use of herbs.
According to him, when the natural process of conceiving fails, there are ample support services available to couples.