Hepatitis B Can Cause Infertility In Men Infected With The Virus

Editorial Team

The ‘WHO Global hepatitis report, 2017’ indicates that a large majority of  people living with Hepatitis lack access to life-saving testing and treatment. As a result, millions face risk of chronic liver disease, cancer, and death. What the general public is not aware of is that Hepatitis B Virus is also one of the reasons behind infertility in males.

Studies indicate that men living with HBV are 1.59 times more likely to experience infertility than individuals who are not infected.Hepatitis B virus’ ’S’ protein is known to lower sperm motility and reduce the fertilization rate by more than half.

Dr. Pai, director IVF & Infertility, Fortis La Femme Hospital, Delhi and secretary general of the Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecological Societies of India said that, 

“Hepatitis does not have any effect on the normal functioning of the ovarian or uterine glands. However, this virus impacts spermatogenesis negatively in males. This causes a reduction in the sperm count, free testosterone levels, motility, viability, and morphology which further impacts overall fertility and ability to produce an offspring in them.

On World Hepatitis Day, the need of the hour is to offer testing for HBsAg and HCV in infertile couples. This would help them get some clarity on the fertility therapy they should choose and reduce any potential risk of transmission to an uninfected partner or baby.”

Under such circumstances, it is important to counsel couples who have been tested positive for hepatitis and are seeking fertility treatments. This would in turn enable them to understand the transmission risk of the disease.

“Transmission risk from mother to baby increases by 80-90 per cent in HBV cases and 11 per cent in HCV positive cases, where there is high viral load.

Some ways to reduce this risk include semen washing, administering the uninfected partner with HBV vaccination, and treatment with Interferon and Ribavirin. Many couples would have doubts, fears, and misconceptions in their mind about this condition,” says Dr Nandita Palshetkar, director, IVF and Infertility, Fortis Bloom IVF Center, La Femme and Fortis Hospital Gurgaon.

On World Hepatitis Day, it is important to encourage couples to come out and talk about these fears and apprehensions through support and peer groups as in the West.

This article was gotten from The Indian Express