Treating Male Infertility in Ukrainian Surrogacy
Andrology is a medical field that brings together disciplines such as urology, anatomy and biochemistry. It is very new, yet we have some exception experts in Ukraine.
Progress towards infertility treatment options for men has inched along at a glacial pace. Channa Jayasena, an endocrinologist who specializes in andrology and is also based at Hammersmith Hospital and Imperial College London, says that although infertility affects many men, it is a reality society has essentially ignored. “We’ve never developed any treatment to improve a man’s sperm count,” he says. “The treatment is simply treating his partner with something that most people in the world cannot afford and is potentially dangerous.”
Even basic testing is coming up short. The World Health Organization set out standard parameters for healthy semen in 2010, but some scientists say that new information about the molecular, cellular, and genetic makeup of sperm must be taken into account and the global reference points should be updated.
Tests for genetic abnormalities, hormone analyses, and ultrasound scans may also be needed to provide a more complete picture. Such testing can check for obstructions like varicose veins in the testicle, called varicocele, which can impede sperm production by blocking the testicle, even causing it to shrink. But it is rarely offered to male patients. No surprise, then, that men on the popular web forum Reddit write post after post, asking others to interpret their semen test results like tea leaves, sharing intimate details about color, volume, viscosity, appearance, pH, morphology, motility, and sperm count. “Care to comment on my semen analysis?” wondered a 34-year-old recently, posting his results. The question is posted so often that it is addressed in the FAQ.
Jayasena, the London-based endocrinologist, is bewildered by the lack of progress. He suggests that medicine’s failure to develop effective treatments for low sperm count is “slightly embarrassing.” Jayasena and his colleagues have conducted some of the recent work connecting men’s fertility to health issues like cancer, and they are studying the link between subfertility and being overweight. For Jayasena, solutions ought to be within reach. “It’s either an insurmountable task that is unique amongst medicine — or simply that we just haven’t bothered to research and find out,” he says.
In the absence of adequate progress, scientists warn that the gaping holes in our knowledge of male reproduction will hamper our understanding of how increasingly sophisticated reproductive technologies on the horizon — stem cell therapy, gene editing — could affect the children they produce. With evidence suggesting that the quality of a father’s sperm could affect the health of his children and even his grandchildren, these are important questions.