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T&T male infertility rate shoots up

PORT OF SPAIN – New research shows there is an unusually high rate of male infertility in T&T which is way and above the international average. According to a study conducted by the T&T IVF & Fertility Centre, 34 per cent of males in T&T have a low sperm count. This rate is considerably higher than the international average which is between 17 and 18 per cent according to the study.

These findings were shared yesterday during the first Caribbean Male Infertility Symposium hosted by T&T IVF and the University of the West Indies at the Carlton Savannah Hotel, St Ann’s. The T&T IVF study was conducted between 2009 and 2011 during which 663 sperm samples were collected. Results of the study were compared to international figures from Australia, Finland, Italy and USA.

The research showed that the local prevalence of males with no sperm – a condition called azoospermia – was also higher than international averages. In T&T, the percentage of males with azoospermia is 9.4 per cent which is double the international average of 4-4.9 per cent. Further results from the study showed that the male partner was the cause of the problem for one in three couples assessed at the T&T IVF clinic for infertility.

Additionally, one in every six couples has trouble conceiving in T&T. Dr. Catherine Minto-Bain, T&T IVF medical director said the causes of male infertility remained largely unknown. “We really don’t know what the actual causes are underneath. Sperm research around the world is very a vibrant and exciting field and there’s a lot to be found out whether it’s genetic, whether it’s environmental, whether it really truly is just the way we live our lives,” she said.

Negative impact on sperm count

Minto-Bain added, however, that there are some known factors which negatively impact sperm count such as diets high in saturated fats and alcohol, nicotine and marijuana abuse. She said there does not appear to be any link to career. “We don’t think that it’s related to industry and it seems to be across ethnic and social groups,” she added. (Guardian)

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