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‘Inconceivable’? 86 per cent of West Bengal’s men run risk of infertility, highest in country: Study

Kolkata: Bengal has the highest number of men with abnormal sperm parameters in the country, a prime condition for infertility, according to a nationwide study conducted by an assisted reproductive facility on couples seeking fertility treatment between 2018 and 2021.

As many as 86 per cent of men from the state suffered from at least one of three major sperm abnormalities that cause infertility, according to the study conducted on 64,452 couples. Male infertility was one of the reasons associated with infertility in 61 per cent of 2,179 couples who sought treatment at the in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) centre in Bengal between January and October this year.

The survey flags precise and quick diagnoses, apart from poor lifestyle, stress, late marriage, busy work schedules and improper food habits as being responsible for the jump in the number of infertile males.

“A very high percentage of men in Bengal suffer from one of the three parameters that determine sperm abnormality: sperm count, motility and morphology,” said Nitiz Murdia, co-founder and managing director of Indira IVF, which conducted the survey across the country, including Kolkata. “The figure varied between 79 per cent in 2018 and 96 per cent in 2021. A steep 10. 8 per cent of our male patients in Bengal had zero sperm count in 2021,” he added.

Experts in Kolkata said male infertility was on the rise across India, and Kolkata was no exception. Even though women, traditionally, are the first to undergo an infertility test, an equal number of men eventually turn out to be infertile, said Souren Bhattacharjee, head of Birla Fertility and IVF Centre.

More men willing to get tested now

Souren Bhattacharjee said male infertility was on the rise, and men were solely responsible for about 20 per cent, and a contributing factor in another 30 per cent to 40 per cent, of all infertility cases.

“As male and female causes often co-exist, it is important that both partners are investigated for infertility. In a maledominated society like ours, a significant number of men do not come forward to investigate and most often, the woman is blamed for being unable to conceive,” Bhattacharjee added.

In India, abnormal sperm parameters in men (amongthose who visited Indira IVF for treatment) rose from 63. 7 per cent in 2018 to 80. 9 per cent in 2021. The number of infertile men has jumped over the last decade due to two reasons, Bhattacharjee added.

“First, more men are now getting tested; secondly, more precise diagnosis has made it possible to identify infertility. ” “We have seen a spike in male infertility diagnoses in the last few years,” said IVF expert Gautam Khastagir, who runs Birth, an IVF clinic. “Fertility treatment has shot up after Covid. The number of infertile males has always probably been the same as females. But earlier, social taboos prevented men from getting tested. Now, men are also willing to get tested,” he added.

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