October 17, 2018
Causes of Infertility
3% of men suffer from male infertility, and yet the subject is shrouded in mystery and misinformation. This Live Q&A aims to bust myths and spotlight facts pertaining to infertility in men.
Live Questions & Answers
Q1. What are the common causes of male infertility?
Erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, low sperm count, trauma or injury, infections and genetic factors are some potential causes.
Q2. Do smoking and drinking affect sperm count?
Excessive smoking definitely affects fertility. Likewise, excessive drinking can lead to premature ejaculation and thus, infertility.
Q3. What are the symptoms of male infertility?
Erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation and low sperm count are some manifestations of male infertility.
Q4. How is male infertility diagnosed?
A lab investigation of the semen sample is the only way to diagnose infertility.
Q5. Can supplements, exercise and a healthy diet improve sperm count and quality? Any specific foods that can help?
There are no specific foods that can boost sperm quality or count. Exercise will help if you are obese or diabetic.
Q6. Is infertility genetic?
Genetics can be significant in influencing genetic aberrations or anomalies. These can trigger infertility.
Q7. What can a man do to boost fertility?
Quitting – or at least reducing – one’s consumption of alcohol and cigarettes is vital. Also, try staying away from heated environments. There are no specific food recommendations. Exercise will help if you are obese or diabetic.
Q8. Does an inability to conceive warrant fertility testing of both partners?
Yes. A baseline test for both partners is recommended on the first visit.
Q9. What is the normal sperm count range?
Anywhere over 20 million sperm per millilitre is considered healthy.
Q10. Does smoking damage sperm?
Smoking causes vasoconstriction, which in turn, affects blood supply to the penis.
Q11. What are the factors that give rise to male infertility?
Some common factors include stress, smoking, drinking, obesity, marital issues, difficulty in sexual performance and exposure to drugs.
Q12. Is there a solution to undescended testicles?
This condition is known as cryptorchidism, and is often present since childhood. If the testicles remain in the abdomen, they cannot produce sperm and need to be brought down via corrective surgery.
Q13. Can chemotherapy impact male fertility?
The drugs used in chemotherapy are toxic to sperm. In a man who has undergone chemotherapy, a testicular biopsy is the only way to gauge sperm quality and volume. Sperm donation can be considered as an option if sperm reserves have been compromised.
Q14. Does male fertility decrease with age, and if so, why?
A decline in fertility may be caused by diseases such as diabetes, which hamper sexual performance.
Q15. Is it possible to have a zero sperm count?
A case of nonexistent sperm is termed as azoospermia. It is a common issue that can be resolved. Your urologist may conduct an evaluation to check for problems in the genitalia, followed by an ultrasound. You may also be advised genetic testing.
Q16. What tests are typically prescribed to diagnose male infertility?
A semen analysis is usually the first step in diagnosing male infertility.
Q17. Can keeping a mobile phone in one’s pant pocket affect sperm count?
Any vibrations close to the testicles can impact fertility. It’s a good idea to turn off your phone’s vibration settings.
Q18. Can avoiding extreme heat – such as from laptops and hot tubs – increase sperm count?
Extreme heat does hinder sperm production, and damages existing sperm. It’s wise to avoid heat exposure.
Q19. Can male fertility treatment guarantee quick conception?
If the cause of infertility is male-partner-driven, treatment will certainly help achieve pregnancy sooner.
Q20. What are the options for men with an extremely low sperm count?
There are various treatments for low sperm count. Your doctor will suggest an approach after analysing your medical history and profile.
Q21. Can male infertility be completely treated?
This depends on the cause of infertility. Some fertility-impeding factors like infections can be treated, while others – like genetic influences – cannot be.
Q22. What is the right age or time to approach a specialist for male infertility?
A couple that has been trying for a year, but has been unable to conceive, should seek guidance from a fertility specialist.
Q23. In a healthy male, are 100% of sperm viable?
No. There are abnormal sperm cells in any semen sample, but in a healthy male, this percentage is usually lower.
Q24. Can alcohol affect male fertility?
Yes. This is why it should be avoided – or at least reduced in consumption.
Q25. How common is male infertility?
3% of men seek help for infertility.
Q26. Can cycling on a hard seat affect fertility?
Yes. Persistent pressure on the testicles can affect sperm production.
Q27. How can one reduce the risk of male infertility?
Factors like stress, smoking, drinking, obesity, marital issues, sexual dysfunction, exposure to drugs and heated environments can increase the risk of male infertility, so it’s wise to seek help for such situations.
Q28. What is the treatment for unexplained infertility?
If no issues are found in you or your partner, you may be evaluated for undetected antibodies.
Q29. Can a varicocele cause male infertility?
A varicocele is the dilation of the veins inside the testicles. This causes elevated temperatures and in turn, affects sperm count.
Q30. How does erectile dysfunction impact infertility?
Erectile dysfunction can take a psychological toll on a man, potentially causing tension in a marriage. It can also be a cause of infertility.
Q31. How can one improve sperm motility?
There is no proven treatment to improve sperm motility.
Q32. What are the reasons for a short erection?
Erectile dysfunction hinders erections. Alternatively, issues with the muscles in the penis may also play a role. Your situation may be better understood by a urologist.
Q33. Does thyroid disorder cause low sperm count (my other hormone levels are normal)?
Thyroid disorder affects the levels of other hormones, whereas that’s not the case with you. In your case, assisted reproductive technology is recommended.
Q34. My wife’s and my fertility reports are normal, and yet, we have been unable to conceive. What should we do?
If you haven’t had luck so far, you may want to consider assisted reproductive technology.
Q35. Why does my semen contain jelly-like particles?
Semen is jelly-like in consistency, so you likely have nothing to worry about. Consult a doctor to rule out any infections.
Q36. Is it possible to improve sperm motility from 5% to 40%?
There are drugs that claim this is possible but there’s no scientific evidence.