July 13, 2013 09:13
The number of men diagnosed with infertility has doubled over the last seven years. Although most people associate infertility with women, men accounts for 10 to 20 percent of cases.
A report released by the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs last month indicated that the number of men diagnosed with infertility rose from 22,166 in 2004 to 40,199 in 2011. In 2010, there was a 27.7-percent leap from the previous year, the biggest increase ever.
The reasons are low sperm count or low productivity and problems in testicles or the seminal vesicle. Prof. Lee Sung-won at the Samsung Medical Center said, "It seems that stress from overwork and sitting on chairs for a long time causes problems in reproductive organs of men."
Changes in fashion favoring tight trousers were also cited as a possible reason.
However, few people seek remedies such as in-vitro fertilization or artificial insemination. In 2011, a total of 191,205 men and women were diagnosed with infertility, but only 86,433 sought treatment.
The government partly subsidizes the cost for some infertile couples. In 2011, over 40,000 couples benefited.
Lee said, "Although there are limited ways to treat male infertility, IVF or artificial insemination can be effective. If couples fail to conceive a baby naturally for a year, they should see a doctor."
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