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Mumps causes infertility in Men

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Males who get mumps known in Akan language as ‘gyemirekutu’ around puberty, are prone to fertility problems, Prof. Samuel Obed, Head of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital has said.

Prof. Obed told The Spectator newspaper recently that when the male is infected with mumps, the virus travels into the testicles and gradually destroys the sperm producing area of the testes. This is called mumps orchitis.

He said the destruction might either be total or partial, but in almost all cases, it affects both reproductive glands, causes the testes to shrink.

“If the destruction is partial, the sperm production could either have a low or no sperm count, he explained.

Although Prof. Obed says mumps are highly infectious, he noted that once a person gets it, he develops immunity and is protected for life. Mumps occur, at least, once in a person’s lifetime.

However, he noted that females, who get the infection around puberty, have no problem with infertility.

Prof. Obed described mumps as a viral infection which usually affects the salivary gland in the month, specifically the parotid gland. It is usually a mild self-limiting infection. This means without drugs, the swollen cheeks can clear. He noted that mumps commonly affect children than adults.

He revealed that for many times, men who visit the hospital to treat infertility problems could not recall when they were infected with mumps, but said it was possible they had it around their puberty stage.

The symptoms of mumps are mild fever and swelling of the cheek glands, which clears within a few days, usually two to three days.

To treat it, traditionally, people apply red day, white clay, charcoal or wood ash on the checks but “this is just psycho-therapy.”

“If you have pains, it is better to take a pain killer,” he advised.

Asked whether there is a remedy for men who have had mumps around puberty and currently having infertility problems, Prof. Obed was quick to add that it was not in all cases that infertility in men is caused by mumps.

“There are varied causes of infertility. Some may be blockade of the canals or other chronic infections such as tuberculosis (TB) or some cancers,” he revealed.

Prof. Obed added that some infertility problems could be due to chronic alcoholism or excessive cigarette smoking (15 or more sticks a day). He, therefore, advises those who indulge in these practices to stop and live healthy.

He said usually when a male partner consults the doctor, he is asked to undergo semen fluid analysis and based on the findings is found to either have low or no sperm count.

Some infertility problems may be treated through surgical means. If the infertility is due to mumps or orchitis, the person may have to use a donor sperm through assisted reproductive technology,” he revealed.


Credit: The Spectator

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