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Infertility is a significant global health problem, with specialists estimating that as many as one in six couples worldwide are affected. In more than half of those cases, experts say, the underlying problem is in the male.Treatments such as in-vitro fertilization and intracytoplasmic sperm injection, where the sperm is placed into the egg rather than next to it, actually bypass the male problem rather than treating it, said Richard Sharpe, professor at the University of Edinburgh's center for reproductive health.Experts say that to address the basic unanswered clinical and scientific questions in andrology – the study of male reproductive health – would require research ranging from large, ideally international, epidemiological studies to detailed lab work to decipher exactly how sperm cells function.So while estimates suggest as many as one in 20 young men now have sperm counts low enough to impair fertility, that remains educated assumption, rather than data from specific studies.Comprehensive European or global data on funding going to male fertility research are not available, but in Britain, for example, around 3.6 percent of the Medical Research Council Populations and Systems panel budget was provided for male infertility research from 2014 to 2017 .
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