Despite decades of research, one of the most confounding mysteries in the world of medicine is what causes male infertility.
In most cases of male infertility, which account for around half of all infertility cases, no cause can be identified. However, research has shown that infertility seems to run in the family, which makes scientists believe that there could be a genetic cause at work.
A recent study conducted by the Pasteur Institute in France and University College London may begin to back up that claim.
Researchers looked at the genetics of 315 men who were unable to produce sperm. In 4 percent of those men, defects in the NR5A1 gene were discovered. This particular gene is heavily involved in the sexual development of both men and women.
While that percentage is very small, these researchers believe that this may be just the beginning of more discoveries relating to genetic causes of infertility, according to the BBC.
That said, the small number of findings also stress how difficult it is to pinpoint an exact cause of male factor infertility.
"Given the complexity of the sperm production process it is likely that many genes are involved and therefore that many gene defects linked to infertility may be found,” Dr Allan Pacey, a senior lecturer in Andrology at the University of Sheffield in England told the BBC.
"Although this gene defect affects only a small number of men, we need more studies like this so that we can fill in the gaps in our knowledge and possibly one day build a robust diagnostic test for male fertility based on genetic,” Pacey said.
You can read more about male and female infertility causes here. Embryo adoption may be the solution for a couple dealing with male infertility factor. For more information on a unique alternative for couples wishing to experience pregnancy, visit The Embryo Adoption Awareness Center at www.EmbryoAdoption.org.
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