Infertility and Men: What You Need to Know

Man worried about infertility and being able to conceive

Infertility and Men: What You Need to Know

According to studies, male infertility is on the rise compared to previous years. Typical issues are low sperm count, decreased motility (movement) of sperm, abnormal shape of sperm, or complete absence sperm.

Male infertility prevents a male from getting his female partner pregnant after 12 months of regular unprotected intercourse. It is extremely common in environments with high level of environmental pollution. Poor lifestyle, unhealthy diet, stress, and alcohol consumption also raises the risk of male infertility.

What is Male Infertility?

Male infertility is the key factor in at least 20 percent of infertility in couples and a contributing factor in nearly 30-40 percent of infertility cases in which both partners have infertility.

According to the World Health Organization, failure to get pregnant is defined as clinical infertility if pregnancy is not established after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.

While either one or both partners may add to the reproductive challenges of the couple, male infertility, like female infertility, is a clinical diagnosis that can only be concluded after male fertility testing.

Cause of Male Infertility

The main causes of infertility in men are low sperm concentration, poor motility of the sperm, and impaired delivery of the sperm to the egg.

Infertility ascribed to the male partner can be caused by:

  • Hormonal issues
  • Obstruction (inability of sperm to exit the testicle/epididymis)
  • Genetic conditions impacting sperm production or causing obstruction
  • General health and lifestyle issues
  • Exposure to steroids like testosterone
  • Chronic disease or cancer
  • Overexposure to environmental toxins

Male Fertility Testing

The male partner should be tested for fertility issues when a couple is diagnosed with infertility.

Men who have risk factors for infertility such as testicular cancer, severe trauma, chemotherapy, radiation, or known genetic risks for male infertility should be tested sooner.

Common male fertility tests include: (semen analyses are performed at FSMG; other evaluation may be performed by a urologist or primary care provider)

  • Physical examination and review of medical and sexual history
  • Semen analysis to determine semen volume, sperm concentration (number per milliliter), motility (movement) and morphology (shape)
  • Blood hormone analysis to detect variance in hormone levels
  • An ultrasound of internal organs
  • Biopsy to check for infection and other abnormalities

Treatments for Male Infertility

At FSMG, a reproductive endocrinologist can create a treatment plan to help couples who cannot conceive due to male infertility following a comprehensive evaluation and infertility diagnosis. Male infertility treatments include:

  • Lifestyle changes, such as losing weight
  • IUI, which involves the collection and washing of sperm, and then injecting the sperm directly into the uterus; often used to treat mild male infertility.
  • IVF with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a procedure that involves a single sperm cell being injected into a single egg to create an embryo.
  • Sperm aspiration is a surgical procedure that involves a urologist inserting a needle directly into the testicle or epididymis to extract the sperm, which can then be used for IVF.
  • Vasectomy reversal to allow sperm to be released in a man’s semen during ejaculation; this is performed by a urologist
  • Donor sperm may be needed for advanced cases of male infertility in which a man’s sperm is not viable or available; can be used in IUI or IVF.

By combining the most advanced assisted reproductive technology with compassionate patient care, the team at FSMG is committed to providing the best experience for patients — no matter the challenge or prognosis. Connect with us today.

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