Scientists are speaking up about an issue they say treats women unfairly and making them pay the price for men's falling fertility. They cited dropping numbers in men's sperm counts, as much as 50 percent lower worldwide since the 1970's.
The drop in sperm count is attributed to a variety of factors from chemicals in the environment, pollution, steroids, protein shakes, and even tight underwear. To get past men's infertility issues, In-Vitro Fertilization has become a popular option for achieving pregnancy.
This process involves injecting a sperm directly into an egg, before implanting it into the mother and it is regularly used to bypass male infertility. Now, scientists are saying the process infringes 'the basic human rights and dignity of women' because they are forced to undergo the invasive procedure which involves harvesting their eggs and implanting an embryo even though they themselves are fertile.
The UK equivalent of IVF is called intracytoplasmic sperm injection, and it has accounted for more than half of all assisted fertility treatments in the UK. Professor Richard Sharpe, from the Medical Research Council Centre for Reproductive Health at the University of Edinburgh, said ICSI was a crude method of by-passing a problem instead of treating it.
Sharpe said at a news briefing in London, "The treatments, and they're quite invasive, are to the female partner. So the female is having to bear the burden of the male's sub-fertility. In a world in which we claim to be addressing the inequalities between men and women, this is a stand-out example of the infringement of basic human rights and dignity."
"Maybe women undergoing treatment during ICSI can begin to apply pressure at the point of delivery of (their) treatment, asking 'why can't you treat him rather than me?"Sharpe continued. He also warned that there was still no long-term data on the long-term health impact of ICSI on the children it produced.
"We still don't know what causes most cases of male infertility and so, of course, we don't have the tools to correct it, because we don't understand it," he said. "The flip side of that coin is that we can't induce infertility for contraceptive purposes. We haven't developed a new effective acceptable (male) contraceptive since the condom."
In the UK, sperm counts have also mysteriously dropped in men by nearly 50 percent since 1973 and 2011.
Tips? Info? Send me a message!
||| Science |||