12 Aug Is Male Infertility as Common as Female Infertility?
How common is infertility? Is male infertility as common as female infertility? According to ASRM, infertility affects both men and women.
- One-third of infertile couples — the problem is related to male infertility
- One-third of infertile couples — the problem is related to female infertility
- Remaining one-third of infertile couples — infertility is caused by a combination of problems in both partners, while in 20 percent of cases, unexplained infertility.
What Causes Infertility in Women?
A woman’s age can significantly affect her ability to have a baby, especially as she enters her 30s and 40s. For a healthy woman in her 20s or early 30s, the possibilities of conceiving each month can be as high as 15-25 percent. By the time a woman is 40, the change of conception per cycle are less than 10 percent.
The most prevalent female infertility factor is an ovulation disorder. Other causes of female infertility include blocked fallopian tubes, which can occur when a woman has had pelvic inflammatory disease or endometriosis.
Three main categories for the causes of infertility in women are:
- Issues with ovulation (oligo-ovulation or anovulation)
- Structural problems of the reproductive system (fibroids, polyps, Müllerian anomalies, tubal factors)
- Unexplained infertility is the diagnosis for 1 in 5 infertile couples (meaning no definitive cause is identified after initial testing)
Lifestyle issues can also lead to infertility, including being underweight or overweight, smoking, or drug and alcohol use.
What Causes Infertility in Men?
The most common male infertility factors include oligospermia, where fewer than normal sperm are produced and azoospermia, in which no sperm are found in the ejaculate. Sometimes, sperm are malformed before they can reach the egg or have issues with motility (movement).
Low sperm concentration and production are indicated by less than 20 million sperm per milliliter of semen. The median sperm concentration is 73 million sperm per milliliter of semen.
Causes of low sperm concentration include:
- Hormone disorders
- Health and lifestyle issues such as obesity
- Frequent use of saunas or hot tubs, which can elevate core body temperature and impair sperm production and thus reduce sperm count
- Use of substances such as cocaine or marijuana may temporarily lower the number and quality of sperm
- Certain drugs, such as testosterone injections, can shut down natural hormone production, leading to decreased or no sperm production
- Smoking tobacco can often lower sperm count compared with men who do not smoke
- Excessive or prolonged emotional stress may interfere with hormones needed to produce sperm, lowering the sperm count
- Testicular abnormalities such as testicular inflammation/infection, varicocele (a varicose vein in the scrotum), previous testicular surgeries, or undescended testicle(s).
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