*Article originally published in the business and technology magazine El Innovador, January 24, 2017.
The breathing process in cells for energy production is indispensable for them to live. However, during this phase, free radicals are created that are naturally neutralized by natural antioxidant mediators.
Free radicals are molecules that have unpaired and highly reactive electrons, which can cause damage to the cells and tissues around them, generating oxidative stress.
On the other hand, infertility is the inability to achieve a pregnancy despite frequent and unprotected sex within a year, where the male factor is the cause of up to 50% of fertility problems in the couple.
Oxidative stress is one of the major causes of male infertility of unknown origin. It is considered to be present in up to 80% of these cases and significantly affects sperm functional integrity, such as decreased concentration and sperm mobility.
In addition, it can affect the structure of the sperm, including sperm DNA fragmentation and damage, which leads to a decrease in the fertilization of the woman’s egg and its implantation, as well as deficits in embryonic development, increased chance of miscarriage and genetic defects of the baby.
The cause of oxidative stress, in general, can be caused by intrinsic factors of the organism such as
Extrinsic factors such as air pollution, exposure to insecticides, alcohol consumption, smoking, poor nutrition, etc.
For this reason, the importance of medical management of male infertility in a fertility clinic arises. This includes identifying the risk factors and diagnosing the diseases that affect the patient’s health because of this silent condition.
In addition, treatment can be provided to improve the condition of affected males at the sperm level, constituting a possible strategy for the management of fertility problems.
Many medical specialists continue to rely on the reference limits determined by the World Health Organization (WHO), in which seminal quality is measured by only 3 main parameters: the concentration, motility and morphology of the spermatozoa.
However, in order to catalogue whether a man is potentially fertile or not, it has been determined that in some cases, even though these parameters are normal, some men are still unable to have babies.
That is why there are now new diagnostic studies that can be performed in a fertility clinic, which evaluate oxidative stress directly at the seminal and sperm level with high sensitivity and specificity.
Thus, a deeper and more accurate assessment of the cause of the problem of infertility in men is given, especially for silent conditions such as oxidative stress. With this, doctors will not be giving treatments without further researching the cause of this problem.
I believe that male infertility should be evaluated beyond a simple routine seminal analysis.
The recommendation for taking antioxidant treatments is based on the premise of the lack of antioxidant substances in the seminal duct. Ideally, these oral antioxidants should reach high concentrations in the reproductive tract and restore the important functions required for spermatogenesis.
Antioxidant treatments include:
However, antioxidant supplements are not free from adverse effects. Uncontrolled antioxidant therapy can have a paradoxical effect and decrease proper cell function and metabolism. In the case of male reproduction, it is in the sperm, especially when it is administered to the patient and he does not need it.
The correct evaluation and medical treatment of the parameters at the level of seminal oxidative stress together with a correct antioxidant treatment, with time, will be of great help to define periods of intake and effective doses.
Currently, the best way to measure oxidative stress in semen is through a new, fast, and inexpensive method that directly measures oxidative stress by oxidation reduction potential also called MiOXSYS method.
If you want to know more about this condition, or make a consultation, do not hesitate to go to the specialized doctors at Citmer. As a fertility clinic, we will help you solve all your doubts.