Having a child took a toll on Brian, five years into his marriage.
However, the 33-year-old is skeptical about visiting a specialist to understand the cause of the problem, a role he is handing over to his wife.
“It hurts not to have a child of my own,” he says. “I even avoid visiting the village because my family keeps asking me why I can not have a child.”
A fertility expert who cared for Brian’s wife advised him to undergo a sperm count test, but he refused.
There are many such men in Kenya, a country in which fertility experts have noticed a worrying trend of men staying away from gynecology clinics.
As the country participates in the celebration of World Population Day today, analytical data by Fertility Point Kenya reveals declining sperm quality in Kenyan men.
Samples analyzed over 2,500 Kenyan men between the ages of 30 and 60 over the past three years show that at least 2,000 had low sperm counts. The finding also revealed that sperm quality decreases when a man reaches 45 years due to DNA fragmentation.
Dr Rajesh Chaudhary, chief IVF specialist at Fertility Point Kenya, said there were no signs of low sperm count other than the inability to conceive a woman.
Among the patients reviewed, infertility manifested in several forms, including testicles that became larger than normal, some having erectile dysfunction mainly due to smoking, use of drugs such as miraa, marijuana and alcohol consumption.
Other triggers include exposure to medications such as in chemotherapy, the use of some antidepressants and antibiotics, long-term steroids, obesity, genetic disorders and hormonal imbalances.
“When men turn 45, their sperm motility rate begins to decline due to DNA fragmentation and most struggle to conceive children,” Dr Chaudhary said.
Prof Koigi Kamau of the University of Nairobi, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, says the current trend shows that men are gradually becoming more infertile.
“Sperm counts are generally declining in populations and the question is, is the man becoming increasingly infertile?” poses Prof Kamau, who runs Nairobi Fertility Clinic.
Although the cause of low sperm count is not known, he attributes it to lifestyle changes, including dietary obsession and behavior.
Prof Kamau, also the chairman of the Fertility and Andrology Society of Kenya, says sperm production is a very delicate process, and requires optimal temperatures.
Working in a hot environment can therefore lead to a low sperm count among those affected, including long-distance truck drivers who sit in hot vehicles for long hours.
Boda boda operators are also likely to suffer from low sperm counts because they sit on their testicles which are also heated by the motorcycles.
A warm bath, which is usually preferred during cold weather, is also discouraged as it contributes to low sperm counts.
“Sperm are delicate, if you boil them a little, they die. A hot bath will therefore kill your testicles,” says Prof Kamau, who also includes men with varicose veins (large veins in testicles) that tend to ‘ to have a low sperm count.
Other contributors include a high intake of fats such as cholesterol, which affects blood supply, smoking and indifferent sexual behavior that results in infections.
Some by-products have a direct impact on sperm production – spermatogenesis.
“There can be a million reasons related to low sperm counts and quality, but the general trend is the decrease in sperm count,” says Prof Kamau.
He points to myths that men are infallible for fertility “but when results come, they sweat and realize they are actually the problem.”
Although the Fertility and Andrology Society of Kenya and the Merck Foundation demystify infertility through public education, “we should know that as many women as men contribute to infertility,” says Kamau, adding that they also train about 10 fertility specialists annually to speak. the shortage of specialists.
“Men should not be in denial, if you do not get a baby in about two years, consult,” he says.
However, women also have more complex infertility-related conditions that affect the entire reproductive system.
Triggers of infertility in women can include infections, fibroids and congenital malformations of the fallopian tubes and the uterus.
In addition to men, women also experience complex fertility issues, according to experts.
Contributing factors to infertility in women, according to Prof Kamau, include the lining of the uterus affected by fibroids, changes in underlying muscles such as adenomyosis, and inflammatory processes such as infections that affect the functioning of the fallopian tubes.
Some women who bleed at a young age run the risk of not ovulating during reproductive age and “anatomy, or structure in women is more complex.”
Kamau says aging in women also affects fertility because as they get older, ovulation fails.
Hormonal imbalances also contribute to infertility in both men and women.
Dr Fredrick Kairithia, a gynecologist, says more men are showing up for tests, unlike before, which explains the relatively large numbers reported in the country.
“Usually men, like women, have to visit gynecologists. It is for support and handling mechanism, ”says Dr Kairithia.
He says anatomical problems such as excessive blood supply to the scrotum also contribute to low sperm count.