The reproductive system of the human male is also highly inefficient. Most male animals produce 25 million sperms per day per gram of testicular tissue. Humans produce only 4 million sperms. Only the gorilla, the cheetah and the goose produce less sperm per gram and testicular tissue than humans.
To illustrate the importance of sperm per gram of testicular tissue the average bull ejaculates about 10 billion sperms whereas the average fertile man ejaculation would contain between 1 and 5 million sperms. This means that the average bull, in a single ejaculation, produces between 30 and 100 times more than that of the average man.
The bull’s sperm will also move three times the speed of the human sperm, in a perfectly straight line, with virtually no abnormal, weak or deformed sperms. A man whose ejaculation has 60 per cent of the sperm moving is lucky. Studies on sperm population have found that up to 40 per cent of a man’s sperm are abnormal.
The pig, as an example, also really shows superior fertility. The pig ejaculates an entire pint of sperm during sex. Its orgasm will take a full half hour. Compare this to a mere 120 seconds (2 minutes) for most men. In addition, the pig has little screws like grooves on the end of its penis that fit into a similar groove in the cervix of the female. This guarantees that no sperm will leak during intercourse. The amount of sperm in a single pig’s ejaculation is about four hundred times higher than the amount of sperm in a single human’s ejaculation and none is lost.
In most animals, the sperm cells, as they mature from stage to stage, are arranged in perfect order. This is not so in humans whose sperm cells mature in a helter-skelter fashion, according to histologists.
Why the human sperm count is poor
Several factors have been blamed for the low sperm count in men.
It has been well documented that modern life can have a negative impact on reproduction. Many sperm banks in Europe, America and here in Nigeria get medical students or other professional students to donate their sperm. It is not unusual for good donors with high sperm count on one occasion to have a poor sperm count on the next occasion.
There was a case in the University of California where a donor’s sperm count went literally zero. It was only a close interview that revealed that this student was going through a bout of depression thinking that his life was falling apart. There are cases of infertility with low sperm count from the husband. When the couple goes on vacation, the wife gets pregnant because of the change in the environment, which may eliminate the male stress factor and improve the chances of conception.
There are several factors in the environment that have a terrible effect on the sperm. To make the situation worse, many of these substances have not been thoroughly documented, researched or accounted for. In a village in China, for instance, in the early 1920s, they discovered that fertility was on the decline and the women were not getting pregnant. Suddenly, in the 1930s, the sterility was reversed and the people started having children again. The villagers thought that the curse placed on them had been lifted. It was later they realised that the sterility was due to change in cooking oil.
The use of cheap crude cottonseed oil for cooking created the sterility in men. It was found that the crude extract contained the chemical called gossypols, which causes male sterility and has now been used as a male contraceptive. A good number of these have been discovered by accident while there are several out there that are yet to be discovered.
There are possibly many herbs or fruits that contain gossypol-like substances that the Nigerian population eats and we do not know about. A lot of food intolerances have been found to lead to intestinal auto-intoxication that end up with toxins in the testis. The same goes for food containing heavy metals.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Research shows 10 per cent of human infertility is caused by tubule obstruction and this is usually, although not always, caused by infectious diseases transmitted sexually. One-third of African men are sterile because of epididymal obstruction caused by sexually transmitted diseases. For example, gonorrhea causes irreversible tubule blockage. Our observations are in agreement with those of other scholars that indicate gonorrhea, chlamydia and trichomonas as the most common of the several sexually transmitted diseases.
Chlamydia is regarded as a silent poison because it usually may show no symptoms in 70 per cent of female and in 50 per cent of male. It has a very long incubation period and if left untreated, causes the tubal blockage, early miscarriages and ectopic pregnancy. This type of infertility caused by sexually transmitted diseases requires the most complex medical treatment, which includes new methods of assisted conception or Reproductive Technology.
Human Destiny and Fertility
About 25 per cent of cases of infertility are partly due to some of the reasons given above. The remaining couples suffering from infertility that cannot be explained need not be pessimistic. The new infertility technologies of IVF, GIFT, ICSI, PESA, microsurgery with TESA and most recently blastocyst transfer, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, Mayr modern medicine therapy and embryo receptivity protocols can help most if not all infertile couples conceive.
What New Technology in Conception means
This refers to the process of solving seemingly impossible or difficult infertility problems with new technology. Such technology usually involves the complex handling of human gametes, consisting of the sperm and egg, in order to achieve conception and subsequent pregnancy, leading to the delivery of a healthy baby.
In the United States of America, after the initial errors in California in which gametes were improperly handled, resulting in a black couple giving birth to a white baby while a white couple giving birth to a black baby, mandatory training and examination was stipulated and required before someone could be appointed the director of an IVF program or laboratory. They must be licensed by examination as High Complexity Clinical Laboratory Director and Clinical Consultant by the American board of Bioanalysis.
These individuals have helped in maintaining the practice of Assisted Reproductive Technology in the USA. In Europe the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology also help to provide regulations. Since 20113 the Nigeria Association for Fertility and Human Reproduction have produced guidelines for its members with over 65 IVF centres to ensure best practices.