Help for men with low sperm count - Jamaican fertility unity offering chance to become a father
Most men with a low sperm count in Jamaica are denied the opportunity of fathering a child. But with the introduction of sperm retrieval surgery in the island, scores of men are being given an opportunity to achieve their desire of fathering children.
This form of surgery is one of several options being offered to infertile couples at the Hugh Wynter Fertility Management Unit (HWFMU) at the University Hospital of the West Indies.
According to embryologist at the facility, Denise Everett-Keene, they have had "some really nice successes".
She said that the HWFMU has offered this service to several men over the years, and some of the children who were produced following the procedure are now making the transition to secondary school.
For these men, natural conception would not have been possible, because while men generally produce millions of sperms, the candidates for this type of surgery do not produce any when they ejaculate.
"If there is no sperm in the ejaculate, then that's when we would offer surgical sperm retrieval," said Everett-Keene.
"We do surgery to see if it is a case that there is a blockage or something is happening, and so it is not coming out in the ejaculate; so we physically go and look for it," she explained.
According to Everett-Keene, some men are unable to produce any children for a variety of reasons. This includes having a medical condition such as diabetes or because they sustained an injury as a child.
The embryologist noted that not all of the cases are successful, but the HWFMU has managed to produce a child from this procedure every year since offering the service.
Men are often referred by their urologist to the facility, and two semen tests and hormone checks are generally conducted. Both the man and his partner are then encouraged to start in vitro fertilisation treatment, and then an egg retrieved from the woman is injected with the sperm from the man.
Some men do have concerns about retrieving their sperms, but Everett-Keene said that the procedure is a minor one and only creates a bit of discomfort.
"They are concerned that when we do go in for the surgery, we might interfere with their erection and things like that, which we don't," she assured.
"It can be uncomfortable, but the next day he can be walking around," said Everett-Keene.
Hugh Wynter Fertility Management Unit costs
Sperm retrieval surgery - US$500
In Vitro Fertilisation US$7,500