What causes fertility issues in men?

May 2, 2024
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Infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant despite having frequent, unprotected sex for at least a year.

To get pregnant, all the steps during ovulation and fertilization need to happen correctly. The causes of infertility can be present from birth or can develop later in life. The infertility causes can affect one or both partners. In general:

  •       In about one-third of cases, there is an issue with the male.
  •       In about one-third of cases, there is an issue with the female.
  •       In remaining cases, there are issues with both the male and female.

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Causes of Male Infertility

These may include:

  • Abnormal sperm production or function due to undescended testicles, genetic defects, health problems such as diabetes or infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, mumps or HIV.
  • The problems with the delivery of sperm due to problems like premature ejaculation, certain genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis and structural problems such as a blockage in the testicle, damage or injury to the reproductive organs.
  • Problems with the delivery of sperm due to problems like premature ejaculation, certain genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis   Overexposure to certain environmental factors such as chemicals, radiation, and pesticides.
  • Frequent exposure to heat, such as in saunas or hot tubs, can raise the core body temperature and may affect sperm production.
  • Damage due to cancer and its treatment which includes radiation or chemotherapy. Sometimes cancer treatment can impair sperm       production severely.

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What is the Diagnosis of Male Infertility?

Doctors will do a physical exam, including examination of the genitals. Some specific tests for male fertility include:

  • Semen analysis:

Semen is obtained by masturbating or by interrupting intercourse and ejaculating semen into a clean container.

  • Hormone testing:

A blood test is done to determine the level of testosterone and other male hormones.

  • Genetic testing:

To determine whether there is a genetic defect causing infertility.

  • Testicular Biopsy:

It is performed to identify abnormalities contributing to infertility and to retrieve sperm to use with assisted reproductive techniques.

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What are the Risk factors for Male Infertility?

  • Age:

Men over 40 years are less fertile than younger men and may have higher rates of certain medical conditions in offspring, such as psychiatric disorders or certain cancers.

  • Tobacco use:

Smoking increases the risk of erectile dysfunction and a low sperm count in men.

  • Alcohol use:

Heavy alcohol can decrease sperm count and motility.

What is the treatment of Male Infertility?

Treatment of male infertility include:

  • Improving lifestyle and behavioral factors can enhance the chances of pregnancy.
  • Some medicines may improve a man's sperm count and the likelihood of achieving a successful pregnancy.
  • Surgery can reverse a sperm blockage and restore fertility in selected conditions.

Can Male Infertility be Prevented?

Some types of infertility are not preventable, but several strategies increase your chances of pregnancy.

  • Avoid drug, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol consumption
  • Avoid high temperatures
  • Avoid exposure to industrial or environmental toxins
  • Limit medications that may impact fertility
  • Exercise regularly to improve the sperm quality and chances of pregnancy.

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