It is believed that at least half of the cases of infertility are related to the impairment of male fertility. This challenge focuses on understanding genetic and biological determinants of male fertility to be able to develop specialized treatments as well as implement preventive measures aiming to improve the reproductive function of future generations.
Infertility is a global problem in the western world affecting 15-20% of all couples. It is believed that in at least half of the cases the problem is related to the impairment of male fertility. It has also been shown that under certain circumstances environment and/or lifestyle could represent a threat to semen quality and, consequently, to male fertility. However, our understanding of genetic and biological determinants of male fertility is far too limited which hampers the implementation of preventive measures aiming to improve the reproductive function of future generations.
Indeed, not only prevention but also possibilities to treat impaired semen quality are very limited, with gonadotropin therapy in males with hypogonadotropic hypogonadism being one of the few exceptions. Even in this context, gaps in understanding the basic aspects of the function of the different cellular components of the human testis represent a major problem. This is due to the enormous complexity of the organization of the testis. Another limitation in the efforts of developing efficient treatments of male infertility is the deficiency of methods of the assessment of the quality of male gametes. This is important from the point of better diagnostics of male reproductive dysfunction as well as in relation to the proper classification of different testicular pathologies.