Infertility is one of the major health problems. Nearly 30% of the couples in reproductive age group are not being able to conceive within one year of unprotected sexual intercourse. Of these the male factor is solely responsible in about 20% of the cases and is contributory in other
30-40% cases. It is estimated that globally, 60-80 million couples suffer from infertility every year and of which probably 15-20 million are in India alone. Various pre-testicular, testicular and post-testicular causes like varicocele, Y chromosome micro-deletions, injuries, infections, hormonal disorders and obstruction are known to cause infertility. Despite extensive investigations in about 40-50% no aetiology is identified. In recent years it has been shown that infertile men with normal and abnormal sperm parameters may have significantly high free radical levels and sperm DNA damage. Oxidative stress is an important aetiological factor which leads to sperm DNA damage and infertility. It damages all biomolecules and both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA and adversely affects sperm membrane fluidity and motility. This acts like a biological safeguard however use of such sperm for ART/ICSI can lead to pre and post implantation losses, major and minor congenital malformations and even childhood cancer. Thus it is important to know the causes of oxidative stress and how the levels of free radicals be maintained at physiological levels when they are beneficial for normal function. It is also important to develop techniques to identity cases with high free radical levels and also adopt certain life style measures which can minimise oxidative stress and improve male reproductive health. Supraphysiological Free Radical Levels and their Pathogenesis in Male Infertility: Dinesh V, Shamsi MB and Dada R.
Last date updated on June, 2014