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Genetics in Male Infertility

Sperm counts in this day and age are on the decline. You can blame it on anything from cell phones to cigars. When the concentration, mobility and morphology of sperms are affected, the man is worried. What causes this, is a common question? Can it be corrected with medicines, is the next.
I have already referred to varicoceles and their effect on sperm counts and male infertility . Before embarking on treatment for varicoceles or prescribing costly antioxidants it may be imperative in a proportion of patients to check for genetic reasons.
There are two underlying factors which affect sperm counts . One is the number of chromosomes (karyotype) and the other is the nature of the Y chromosome.

 

Human beings have 23 pairs of chromosomes normally with men having a Y chromosome. So, the karyotype in a normal man reads as 46XY. However, if this was not to be the case and there was a deletion or addition of a chromosome, then an abnormality might result.

 

Again as regards the Y chromosome, it has a long arm and a short arm . The long arm may have some genetic deletions, the so called Azoospermia factors (AZF) . These deletions result in Azoospermia. There could be an AZFa , AZFb or AZFc deletion . Testing for karyotyping and Y chromosome deletions are readily available and should be offered to men before contemplating surgical procedures or sperm retrieval more to counsel them on their chances.

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