Problems with Fertility in Men
- Posted on: May 15 2014
Deciding to have a baby is a huge decision, and when the process doesn’t go as planned, it can be quite stressful for the couple. For men, in particular, issues relating to virility or fertility are extremely difficult to cope with and discuss.
However, if you plan to start a family, and are not able to achieve pregnancy despite a year of unprotected sex, consider discussing these issues with a fertility specialist. Studies have shown that early intervention will help save the couple much heartbreak, money, and pain.
Who to Consult for Male Infertility
- Reproductive specialist – A reproductive specialist is the doctor to consult when you have been having repeated trouble with conception. A history will be taken to look for any causes of male infertility. Important issues reviewed will include medications, medical problems, genetic problems and prior surgical history.
Causes of Male Infertility
- Lifestyle – Lifestyle choices are another factor that could contribute to male infertility. Increased smoking and drinking can lead to problems with sex, which are factors that decrease the chance of conception occurring.
- Ejaculatory duct blockages – These issues could also be reasons why you are having a problem with fertility. However, this only occurs in a small percentage of people and is not frequently seen. If the epididymis or vas deferens is blocked, this could lead to difficulties in sperm reaching the egg during ejaculation. Congenital defects, surgery, injury, and infection are reasons why this could occur.
- Testosterone and Anabolic steroids – Use of anabolic steroids has also been implicated in problems with male fertility. Some men may be on these medicines for a number of different reasons. These medications are, however, known to cause problems with hormonal balances in the body and hence can block the process of conception.
- Cancer treatment – If the man is undergoing or has undergone treatment for cancer, this may cause infertility for a period of time. Sometimes, with medical aid and treatment, you can still conceive later on, but it is important to discuss this issue with your clinician to determine if it is a causative factor.
- Drug use and abuse – Use of drugs is also a reason for low fertility in men. There may also be low motility of sperm or poor quality of sperm. This can result in problems when trying to conceive with a fertile partner.
- Environmental and chemical substances – Exposure to environmental pesticides, lead in excessive quantities, and other substances can interfere with normal sperm production. These things can lead to poor fertility and reduced chances of success when attempting to conceive.
- Sperm quality – In addition to low motility and low sperm count, abnormally shaped sperm can also lead to issues of infertility in men, according to recent research. Conducting the necessary tests and determining or discussing alternates like donor sperm, and adoption are avenues to consider as a couple.
- Anti-sperm antibodies – In some cases the body produces these antibodies following a vasectomy, infection, trauma, or testicular torsion. Understanding and investigating this will help you to think of ways to overcome this.
- Weight – Just like with women, men too can have low fertility if they are particularly underweight or overweight. Consider the facts carefully and discuss changes in nutrition and reduce your stress levels and workload to work toward the end goal.
Unexplained causes may be present in cases of male infertility when all tests have returned normal results. In such incidents, one can only continue to try, enjoy the process, and wait for conception to occur. About 10 percent of all couples in the United States experience trouble in conception during the first year when trying for the first time.
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