For many years, Amos Okello was the proud father of four girls with the last born aged six years. But he was dissatisfied because he did not have a son. In his culture, a man must have a son to carry on their name and he wanted to fulfil this. His wife was reluctant.
Unable to put up with not having a son, Okello decided to start a relationship with another woman. Three years into the relationship, he could not understand why she was not conceiving. They have tried every trick in the book and even added herbs in their attempts to improve their sex life. Finally, they decided to try western medicine by visiting a “fertility clinic” to explain to them what was wrong with the woman.
The doctor advised that he would have to conduct tests not just on the woman but also the man. Okello demurred, complaining that this was an unnecessary expense, as he already knew he was fertile. He had four daughters to show for this. However, after much counselling and insistence, he consented to subject himself to the test.
In layman’s terms, the tests showed that the man was unable to impregnate a woman because he has a low sperm count. He produces semen without sperms in most cases.
This means that for all the years he was with his first wife, he had been raising someone else’s children.
There is no need to suffer the fate Okello is undergoing. You can actually catch this medical condition early if you take your male children for tests as soon as they are born. This is a check for whether they have undescended testes or not.
Dr. Tamale Ssali, a fertility specialist at women’s hospital international, says that some babies are born with undescended testicles meaning that they will not be able to produce sperms at all and thus cannot give birth in adulthood.
“Testes migrate from the area of the kidney and migrate to where the testes. These ones don’t cause low sperm count, there is no sperm at all. It like when someone is moving to Kampala and they get stuck at Lukaya.”
He says that the midwives have to check the baby’s testes and conform whether they are where they are supposed to be.
“That’s why once the male child is born, the midwife or doctor has to check and if they are not there we go to another stage of investigation.”
Dr. Daniel Zaake, a reproductive and fertility expert at Nsambya hospital, says that undescended testes become cancerous as the child grows.
“When the testes do not descend, they become exposed to heat, because they are supposed to be at low temperature, that is why they are where they are located. So exposure to that heat can lead to cancer.”
Dr. Zaake adds that parents should always make sure that they check their male children to monitor the status of their reproduction organs. He also adds that when a child suffers from mumps during puberty, its likely that his sperms are will be destroyed leading to infertility.
“It is better to have your child to suffer from mumps before nine years because then the child will not have started producing sperms. But mumps affect fertility of both boys and girls’ reproductive system and they may not conceive. That is why immunization is very important during childhood.”