Male Reproductive Health under the Microscope
Male reproductive health was of global significance and raising constant awareness about it would encourage men to preserve their ability to reproduce.
This is according to andrologist and reproductive biology professor, Dr Francis Duru of Nigeria, who addressed staff and postgraduate students of the Discipline of Clinical Anatomy (DOCA) during a week-long visit to UKZN.
An expert in the field of male reproduction, Duru teaches Human Anatomy in the College of Medicine’s Department of Anatomy at the University of Lagos. He has published widely in scientific journals and has more than two decades of teaching experience.
Apart from surgical and other causes of testicular malfunction, Duru said infections were the most common cause of male infertility. He stressed it was important to note that not all infections were sexually transmitted.
Male infertility was the result of all those factors contributing to low quantity and quality of sperm, and it was therefore important for men to avoid life styles and toxic substances such as alcohol, tobacco and cannabis that could reduce sperm quality.
‘It is a very exciting area to work in, helping to solve real problems related to infertility. Africa’s socio-cultural environment puts a large premium on childbirth,’ said Duru.
Compared to traditional treatments for male infertility, the major advantage of orthodox practices was that treatment was based on scientific evidence and therefore had a rational basis. The care provider interviewed the patient, and carried out a clinical physical examination followed by laboratory tests.
‘All these practices enable the care provider to make a diagnosis from which treatment or an intervention plan is worked out.’
Duru said many of the cases of infertility were treatable and there was the option of assisted reproduction for the more difficult cases.
Duru informed the students about specific issues relating to testicular structure and function, shedding light on the anatomy of the testis followed by a practical demonstration of in-situ perfusion of the testis and surgical manipulation of the testis in the creation of experimental animal models.
He also gave lectures on testicular toxicology, blood-testis barrier and the spermatogenic wave as well as a preparation of the testis for quantitative microscopic examination.