Many couples now a day’s cannot conceive naturally with unprotected sex. There can be many reasons for male and female infertility. In males, it is most often because of sperm production or sperm delivery issues.
Male fertility usually depends on the quantity and quality of the sperm. When a male ejaculates low number of sperms, no sperms, poor quality of sperm or non-motile sperms it refers to as male infertility. These conditions can affect women’s ability to get pregnant. Not able to conceive a child can really be stressful and frustrating.
Some man may notice symptoms and signs associated with male infertility that may include:
· Sexual functional problem such as difficult ejaculation or small quantity of ejaculated fluid.
· Reduced sexual desire
· Erectile dysfunction
· Pain, swelling or a lump in the testicle area
· Recurrent respiratory infections
· Hormonal abnormality
· Low sperm count
There are many causes of male infertility that may include:
· Medical issues
o Varicocele – is a swelling of the veins in the testicles. The most common reversible cause of male infertility and this can result in reduced quality of sperm.
o Infection- some infections can cause scarring that may block the passage of sperm. These include inflammation of the epididymis or testicles and some sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea or HIV.
o Antibiotics – some antibiotics can cause harm to sperm and attempt to eliminate them.
o Tumors – cancer can affect the male reproductive organs directly through the glands that release reproduction hormones such as pituitary gland. Surgery, chemotherapy or radiation can also affect male infertility.
o Hormone imbalances – low testosterones and other hormonal problems can also cause male infertility issues
o Tubules defects that transport sperm – tubes that carry sperms can be blocked due to several reasons like inadvertent injury from surgery, infections or trauma etc
o Prior surgeries – surgeries like vasectomy, inguinal hernia repairs, scrotal or testicular surgeries, prostate surgery etc may prevent a male from having sperm in ejaculation.
1. Exposure to heavy metals – metals like lead and other heavy metals may also cause male infertility.
2. Industrial chemicals – extended exposure to pesticides, painting materials, benzenes etc may contribute to low sperm counts.
3. Exposure to radiation or X-rays – high doses of radiation can reduce sperm production permanently.
4. Overheating the testicles- frequent use of saunas, or hot tubs may temporarily impair the sperm count.
1. Drug abuse – excessive use of anabolic steroids for muscle building can shrink the testicles and reduce the sperm production. Some illicit drugs like cocaine or marijuana also reduce the number and quality of sperm.
2. Alcohol use – excessive alcohol intake can lower testosterone levels, cause erectile dysfunction and decrease sperm production.
3. Smoking – men who smoke have lower sperm count than those who don’t
4. Stress- severe and prolonged emotional stress can cause fertility problem.
5. Over weight – obesity can impair fertility by directly impacting sperm or by causing hormone changes that reduce male fertility.
Male infertility problem can be diagnosed by performing several tests such as physical examination, medical history, semen analysis, scrotal ultrasound, hormone testing, post-ejaculation analysis, genetic tests, testicular biopsy, sperm function tests or trans-rectal ultrasound.
There are different treatments for male infertility depending on many factors that may include:
· Surgery – for example, a surgery can correct varicocele problem and other infertility issues, epididymis can be use to retrieve sperm.
· Treating infections – antibiotic treatment might cure an infection of the reproductive tract
· Treatment for problems related to sexual intercourse – such as medication or counseling may help in improving fertility conditions such as pre-mature ejaculation etc
· Hormone medications- doctor may recommend hormone replacement treatment or some other medications if infertility is caused by high or low levels of reproduction hormones.