Infertility is a common problem for males. Conception is a complicated process and there are many obstacles, but it doesn’t mean that an infertile man will be not able to have a child from his partner because there are treatments and procedures that can increase the chances of conception.
When to see a doctor?
If no pregnancy after a year of regular unprotected intercourse, and if there is:
– Erection or ejaculation problems, low sex drive, or other sexual problems.
– Pain or swelling in the testicle area.
– Testicular or sexual problems.
– A groin, testicle, penis, or scrotum procedure.
– A partner over age 35.
Causes of male infertility
– Azoospermia: inability to produce sperm cells.
– Oligospermia: the production of low or poor quality sperm.
– Malformed or immobile sperm: Sperm that don’t have the ability to fertilize the egg.
Sperm problems can be congenital; but sometimes a toxic lifestyle can reduce sperm count: smoking, drinking alcohol, and taking certain medications.
Other causes of low sperm numbers include long-term sickness (such as kidney failure), childhood infections, or hormonal testosterone disorder.
Damage to the reproductive system can cause low sperm numbers or the total absence of the sperm; which can cause the obstruction of the tubes that the sperm travel through.
Varicoceles are overinflated veins located in the scrotum; they are more common in infertile men (40 out of 100). They stop the growth of sperm by blocking blood drainage and lead blood to flow back into your scrotum from your belly; the testicles are then too distended and hot to touch for making sperm, which can cause low sperm numbers.
Retrograde ejaculation is when semen goes into your bladder instead of out the penis. This happens when nerves and muscles in your bladder don’t close during orgasm; it can be caused by some procedures, medications, or health problems of the nervous system; signs are turbid urine after ejaculation and dry ejaculation.
Sometimes a man’s body makes antibodies that attack his own sperm because of a certain surgery or infection. Antibodies prevent sperm from moving and working normally in order to fertilize the egg.
Sometimes the tubes which sperm travel through can be blocked; some infections and surgeries (such as vasectomy) can cause blockage. Any part of the male reproductive tract can be blocked, which can lead to infertility because the sperm from the testicles can’t leave the body during ejaculation.
A very low pituitary hormone level causes poor sperm growth.
Hereditary disorders such as Klinefelter’s syndrome; in which a male is born with two X chromosomes and one Y chromosome (instead of one X and one Y) cause abnormal development of the male reproductive organs.
Some medications and supplements
Cancer treatments: Chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery that removes the testicles.
Several factors can increase the risk of male infertility:
– Abusing illegal drugs.
– Drinking alcohol.
– Don’t maintain a healthy weight.
– Being exposed to toxins.
– Overheating the testicles.
– Having a history of undescended testicles.
– Having genetic disorders.
– Having testicular injuries.
– Testicular cancer and treatments.
What are the complications of male infertility?
– Stress and relationship problems.
– Expensive and involved reproductive techniques.
– High risk of testicular and prostate cancer.
How to prevent male infertility?
Some measures must be taken into consideration to prevent infertility:
– Don’t smoke.
– Don’t drink alcohol.
– Steer clear of illicit drugs.
– Avoid being overweight.
– Don’t get a vasectomy.
– Avoid things that overheat the testicles.
– Reduce stress.