Male infertility is often overlooked because most of the focus related to infertility is aimed at the woman. It is viewed as more of a woman’s problem.
However, it just so happens, that men account for nearly one out of three cases of infertility and are in some way or another involved in infertility issues almost 50% of the time. Yes, it does take two to make a baby.
Here is a short refresher on the male reproductive organs and male infertility. Men produce sperm in the testicles, and then store them on top of each testicle in the epididymis. The semen nourish the sperm as they reside inside this measurable stretch of ‘plumbing’.
At the point of climax, the male orgasms and nearly 150 million sperm are ejaculated through the penis in a half-teaspoon of semen. If the woman is ovulating and the sperm reaches the egg, fertilization will occur.
If fertilization does not occur after a year of unprotected sex, you should seek medical advice. Being unable to have children can place undue stress and discord on your relationship and marriage.
Common Causes of Male Infertility
Most often, the problem of male infertility is due to the sperm production or sperm mobility. Men may suffer from low sperm count or abnormal sperm.
Causes of Male Infertility in sperm production include:
- An abnormal collection of varicose veins above the testicles is called varicocele. It is the most collective cause of treatable male infertility. This problem accounts for nearly 38% of male infertility cases. Click here to find out the treatment for varicocele.
- Undescended testicle
- Infections in the testicles, the prostate or anywhere in the body that has caused a high fever.
- Chemotherapy Treatments, Certain Anabolic Steroids or Anti-Seizure Medications
- Genetic abnormalities
- Hormone problems
In some cases, the problem can be treated and even reversed. Your physician will be able to help sort out the causes and the treatments.
There are times when the problem is not in making the sperm, but rather in getting the sperm to where it needs to go. Male infertility of this type may mean that although there is normal sperm in the testicles, they may be abnormal, weak in numbers, or absent altogether.
Causes of Male Infertility in sperm mobility include:
- A condition known as Retrograde Ejaculation. This is where the semen ejaculates backward into the bladder instead of out through the penis. A previous surgery may be the result of this condition.
- The vas deferens is missing or does not function properly due to a genetic problem.
- An obstruction can occur anywhere in the plumbing between the testicles and the penis.
- Antibodies can abnormally attack a man’s own sperm on their way to the egg.
Male Infertility Testing:
Identifying the cause of male infertility involves an evaluation by a male fertility specialist. Some of the tests recommended include:
- A sperm and semen analysis is done on a fresh sample of your semen. A sperm count is measured, and their shape, movement, and other variables are assessed. The higher fertility equates with a higher number of normal-shaped sperm. Moreover, about 15% of infertile men have normal semen and plenty of normal sperm.
- A thorough physical exam, by a urologist, can detect varicocele (bulging veins above testicles) and give clues to hormone problems.
- Your hormones are evaluated. Testosterone is produced in the brain. It controls sperm production. However, hormones are not the main reason in nearly 97% of male infertility cases. To learn more about testosterone levels, click here.
- A testicular biopsy may be performed on men with very few or no sperm in their semen. A needle biopsy of the testicle can show if a man is making healthy sperm. If bountiful, good sperm are found in the testicle, there may be a possible blockage somewhere.
- Genetic testing may be an option to help identify specific obstacles to fertility and problems with sperm.
Of course, living a healthy lifestyle is always a good idea. Anything that improves the quality of health, like adequate sleep, and proper nutrition should improve fertility.
Male infertility causes men to be embarrassed and ashamed that they are unable to fulfill their manly functions. However, most problems with male infertility do not affect their ability to produce male hormones, their sexual function, or their manhood.