In the Press

The male infertility crisis in Europe

Currently in Europe, we face the ever-growing silent epidemic of male infertility with very little research being done to combat this matter. Across the globe male factor infertility contributes to 30-40% of diagnoses for infertile couples and is the sole cause 20% of the time. It is estimated that by 2050, 40% of males will experience infertility related issues. It is a reality that men are not active healthcare seekers and have a higher tendency to suppress infertility related emotions. Most men receive medical advice from their partner’s doctor rather than their own and 50% of all men who had taken part in a global survey carried out by Dr. Christopher J. De Jonge found that 50% of all men are being recommended herbal supplements to treat their infertility. 1 in 6 Maltese couples are affected by infertility, following the Embryo Protection Act’s annual report in 2014, male-factor infertility accounted for 32.35% of cases while female-factor infertility stood at 31.76%. Not only does Europe have a declining birth rate causing an aging population, which in turn puts a strain on resources and depletion of pension funds, but also men have a right to family and access to comprehensive reproductive health care. Overall, the topic of infertility remains a taboo and in relation to male infertility, a strong misconception exists. Many believe that infertility is equivalent to impotence and this further reinforces the notion that men should not speak about it amongst their peers and healthcare professionals. The global survey also found that only 16% of men knew about male infertility support groups within their community. The survey also showed that for men to seek fertility treatment there is usually always a mutual interest - their partner is also highly motivated to resolve the issue. This old-fashioned and outdated ideology of men not speaking up about their mental and physical health has plagued our society for centuries and has now resulted in the amalgamation of a number of mental and physical health problems that continue to remain undiagnosed and untreated within our community - infertility is only one of them. In Malta we have a long way to go when it comes to the further refinement of our reproductive healthcare. When it comes to tackling the problem of the increase of male infertility rates in our countr,y we must begin by further understanding the topic and give the experts in the field enough resources and funding to do so. We must also encourage young men to become active healthcare seekers and encourage them to seek specialised treatment as well as routine check-ups. As a community, we must begin fostering a safe space for men to be able to reach out and discuss their physical and mental health amongst their peers without reservations and fear of judgement. We should also encourage our healthcare providers to take a more holistic approach when dealing with couples with infertility challenges, by recommending and giving equal importance to men when it comes to seeking treatment. As policy makers, we should give the topic of male infertility the importance it deserves and continue to listen to the experts in the field so as to implement the necessary policies as well as be able to provide access to the necessary treatments to our community.

MEP Cyrus Engerer


MaltaToday

My EP Work

Dashing from one meeting to another, to debating groundbreaking legislation with colleagues, stopping to give interviews to the media, or drafting resolutions - there are truly no two days which are identical at the European Parliament. However, our goal remains constant: to work for a stronger Europe which is just and equal, a Europe which we all are proud to call our home.

In the Press

Currently in Europe, we face the ever-growing silent epidemic of male infertility with very little research being done to combat this matter. Across the globe male factor infertility contributes to 30-40% of diagnoses for infertile couples and is the sole cause 20% of the time. It is estimated that by 2050, 40% of males will experience infertility related issues. It is a reality that men are not active healthcare seekers and have a higher tendency to suppress infertility related emotions. Most men receive medical advice from their partner’s doctor rather than their own and 50% of all men who had taken part in a global survey carried out by Dr. Christopher J. De Jonge found that 50% of all men are being recommended herbal supplements to treat their infertility. 1 in 6 Maltese couples are affected by infertility, following the Embryo Protection Act’s annual report in 2014, male-factor infertility accounted for 32.35% of cases while female-factor infertility stood at 31.76%. Not only does Europe have a declining birth rate causing an aging population, which in turn puts a strain on resources and depletion of pension funds, but also men have a right to family and access to comprehensive reproductive health care. Overall, the topic of infertility remains a taboo and in relation to male infertility, a strong misconception exists. Many believe that infertility is equivalent to impotence and this further reinforces the notion that men should not speak about it amongst their peers and healthcare professionals. The global survey also found that only 16% of men knew about male infertility support groups within their community. The survey also showed that for men to seek fertility treatment there is usually always a mutual interest - their partner is also highly motivated to resolve the issue. This old-fashioned and outdated ideology of men not speaking up about their mental and physical health has plagued our society for centuries and has now resulted in the amalgamation of a number of mental and physical health problems that continue to remain undiagnosed and untreated within our community - infertility is only one of them. In Malta we have a long way to go when it comes to the further refinement of our reproductive healthcare. When it comes to tackling the problem of the increase of male infertility rates in our countr,y we must begin by further understanding the topic and give the experts in the field enough resources and funding to do so. We must also encourage young men to become active healthcare seekers and encourage them to seek specialised treatment as well as routine check-ups. As a community, we must begin fostering a safe space for men to be able to reach out and discuss their physical and mental health amongst their peers without reservations and fear of judgement. We should also encourage our healthcare providers to take a more holistic approach when dealing with couples with infertility challenges, by recommending and giving equal importance to men when it comes to seeking treatment. As policy makers, we should give the topic of male infertility the importance it deserves and continue to listen to the experts in the field so as to implement the necessary policies as well as be able to provide access to the necessary treatments to our community.

MEP Cyrus Engerer


MaltaToday

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My EP Work

Dashing from one meeting to another, to debating groundbreaking legislation with colleagues, stopping to give interviews to the media, or drafting resolutions - there are truly no two days which are identical at the European Parliament. However, our goal remains constant: to work for a stronger Europe which is just and equal, a Europe which we all are proud to call our home.