For ages, Infertility has long been considered a woman’s problem. But as it turns out, an estimated 15% of couples are considered infertile, with approximately 35% due to female factors alone, 30% due to male factors alone, 20% due to a combination of female and male factors, and 15% unexplained. A diagnosis of male infertility can be one of the toughest challenges a man can face. For some, it can be devastating. Not being able to father a child can make a man feel heart broken and demoralized.
A man’s fertility normally relies on the quantity and quality of his sperm. Male infertility is due to low sperm production, abnormal sperm function, or blockages that prevent the provision of sperms. Certain Illnesses, injuries, chronic health problems, and lifestyle habits can exert a negative impact on male fertility.
The inability to conceive a child for more than one year of normal and uninterrupted marital relationship could be the only sign that triggers a concern about fertility. There may be no other obvious symptoms. Nevertheless, in presence of an underlying problem such as hormonal abnormality, inherited/genetic disorder, testicular ailment or dilated veins around the testicle, there could be associated symptoms, for example:
A. Medical Problems: the most common of which include:
The most common of which include:
B. Environmental Factors
C. Lifestyle Habits
Diagnosing potential cause(s) of male infertility may take time, so don’t get discouraged if you do not receive an answer promptly. Testing for male infertility usually begins with a health care provider doing inquiring medical history in details and undergoing a thorough physical examination, to be followed by a semen analysis test:
Your trusted Andrologist will thoroughly inquire about your childhood growth and development; sexual development during puberty; sexual history; past illnesses or infections; past surgeries; medication history; exposure to certain environmental agents (radiation and toxic chemicals); plus any earlier fertility testing.
usually includes measurement of height and weight, assessment of body fat and muscle distribution and power, inspection of the skin and hair pattern, and examination of the genitals and breasts. Particular attention is given to clinical assessment for presence of Varicocele (=dilated veins of the spermatic cord).
This is the core part of the assessment of male infertility. This analysis provides information about the volume of semen and the sperm number, motility, and shape. A man should avoid ejaculation (sex and masturbation) for a minimum of 3 days before providing the semen sample.
Blood tests provide information about the hormones that control the process of sperm production. Testosterone, Luteinizing Hormone (LH), Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH), and Prolactin are the main hormones to be checked.
If any genetic or chromosomal abnormality is suspected, specialized blood tests may be needed to check for absent or abnormal regions of the male chromosomes.
Can detect the presence of testicular Varicocele or other problems in the testicles and supporting structures.
Presence of sperms in urine can indicate your sperm are traveling backward into the bladder instead of outside during ejaculation (= retrograde ejaculation).
Antisperm Antibody Test
This is to detect the presence of antibodies attacking its own sperms, due to an immune-related abnormality. Sperm contain unique antigens that are not recognized as self by the body’s immune system because of the blood-testis barrier. Antisperm antibodies may form when the blood-testis barrier is breached because of infection, vasectomy, testicular torsion, cryptorchidism, or testicular trauma. Antibodies that are bound to sperm decrease the sperm’s ability to penetrate the cervical mucus and fertilize the ovum.
The ultimate goal of male infertility treatment is to restore man`s ability to father a child. Even if an exact cause for the infertility is not clear after thorough assessment, your trusted Andrologist can recommend treatments or procedures to facilitate conception.
The female partner is also recommended to be checked. This can help to determine if she will require any associating specific treatments, or if the couple would want to proceed with assisted reproductive techniques.
Treatments for male infertility are directed to treating the potential cause, and may include: