Causes of Male Infertility – Info from a Denver Fertility Center
- Posted on: Dec 19 2013
Causes of Male Infertility
Approximately 20 percent of couples are infertile. This means they aren’t able to conceive a child even though they’ve had frequent, unprotected sexual intercourse for a year or longer. In about half of these couples, male infertility plays a role.
For a man to produce sperm, many complex systems have to work all together in order for the male reproductive system to function properly. Sperm production requires a functioning reproductive tract, and a normal endocrine system to produce the male hormones needed for sperm production. Male infertility is due to low sperm production, misshapen or immobile sperm, inability to have intercourse (erectile dysfunction) or blockages that prevent the delivery of sperm.
Conditions for Conception
For conception to occur:
* The man must produce healthy sperm.
* The semen must carry sperm.
* There must be enough sperm in the semen.
* The sperm must be shaped correctly and mobile.
Common Factors Causing Male Infertility
There are many conditions which can render a male infertile. Some of these are:
* Health, environment, and lifestyle –Your sperm is only is as healthy as you are. If you are overweight , eat an unhealthy diet, drink excessively, use recreational drugs your sperm count can be affected. Exposure to industrial chemicals or heavy metals has been associated with male infertility. Exposure to radiation can hinder sperm production. Overheating the testicles, such as in a sauna or hot tub, can lower your sperm count, as can wearing tight clothing. There have been reports that men that keep their cell phone in their front pocket near their testicles or use a laptop on their lap have lower sperm counts and lower fertility.
* Abnormally shaped sperm ( Low sperm morphology) – Men with a low count of normally shaped sperm have lower fertility. The sperm may be abnormally shaped due to varicicoceles, genetic disorders or for unknown reasons.
* Varicocele – This is a condition where the veins around the testicles swell reducing the ability of the testicles to cool down. The abnormal temperature of the testicles decreases sperm production and motility. However the data on whether the repair of a varicocele improves fertility is controversial.
* Infection – If there is an infection, it can interfere with sperm production or cause scarring, which may block the passages so sperm can’t move through. Some types of infections are STDs, mumps of the testicles, and prostatitis.
* Ejaculation issues – Inability to ejaculate or Retrograde ejaculation (when the semen enter the bladder instead of going out the tip of the penis) wuill cause difficulty in conceiving. Problems with ejaculation can stem from diabetes, spinal injuries, surgeries, and certain medications.
* Cancer –tumors can affect the reproductive system, and decrease sperm production- the tumors can be anywhere and not just in the reproductive tract.
* Undescended testicles – This can affect fertility. It’s a condition where the testicles remain in the body cavity rather descending into the scrotum. Some men treated for their undescended testicles after puberty will have low sperm counts.
* Hormone imbalances – These can keep the testicles from producing sperm, or even just lower the hormones needed for the sex drive.
* Certain medications – Drugs can cause male infertility, if you are taking any medications check with your doctor if it has been associated with erectile dysfunction or male infertility.
Symptoms of male infertility
The main sign of male infertility is the inability to conceive a child. In most cases there are no obvious signs or symptoms, and men are told they have abnormal sperm after a semen analysis. . In some cases, however, an underlying problem such as an inherited disorder (ie cystic fibrosis), hormonal imbalance (seen with erectile dysfunction) or a condition that blocks the passage of sperm may cause signs and symptoms.
If you have any of the below problems and are trying to conceive a semen analysis should be performed:
- The inability to conceive a child after 1 year of trying
- Problems with sexual function — for example, difficulty with ejaculation or difficulty maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction)
- Pain, swelling or a lump in the testicle area
- Decreased facial or body hair
- Family history of cystic fibrosis, or chromosomal imbalances
It doesn’t take much to affect a man’s fertility. It can be simple as sitting too long in the hot sauna or even just the stress of work that creates a problem. Male infertility can be a stressful . Be sure to talk to your Denver fertiilty doctor if you have been trying to conceive for one year unsuccessfully.
Posted in: Infertility Treatment