Infertility is a condition of the reproductive system that prevents or delays pregnancy. If a couple has been unsuccessful in efforts to conceive over the course of one full year, in spite of having correctly timed and unprotected intercourse, then the couple is diagnosed with infertility. Male infertility refers to the man’s inability to impregnate a fertile female partner.
Causes of male infertility
Male fertility is a complex process comprising of the following events:
- Production of healthy sperms
- Transporting the sperms from the testicles to the semen
- Having sufficient sperm count in the semen
- Ensuring efficient motility of the sperm
Anything which causes hindrance to one of these events may lead to male infertility.
Medical causes for infertility in men:
- Varicocele is the most common cause for fertility issues. A varicocele is a swelling of the veins in the testicles resulting in reduced sperm quality.
- Infections of testicles or the sperm duct can interfere with sperm production and can block the passing of sperms.
- Ejaculation issues may happen as a result of injuries, surgeries or certain diseases.
- Tumors– Cancers and non-malignant tumors can affect the male reproductive organs directly. In some cases, surgery, radiation or chemotherapy to treat tumors can also affect male fertility.
- Undescended testicles, a birth defect can result in decreased fertility in men.
- Chromosomal defects- Klinefelter’s syndrome is a condition in which a male is born with two X chromosomes and one Y chromosome instead of one X and one Y. This leads to abnormal development of the male organs.
- Discomfort during sexual intercourse- This can include erectile dysfunction (trouble maintaining an erection during intercourse), premature ejaculation, painful intercourse, anatomical defects or psychological problems that interfere with sex.
- Celiac disease- Celiac disease is a digestive disorder caused by gluten intolerance. This disease may bring about infertility in men.
- Certain surgeries including vasectomy, inguinal hernia repairs, scrotal or testicular surgeries, prostate surgeries, and large abdominal surgeries performed for testicular or rectal cancers may cause absence of sperms and ejaculation issues.
Being overly exposed to heat, toxic metals, radiations and industrial chemicals are found to affect sperm production and functioning. Prolonged sitting, wearing tight clothing or working on a laptop computer for long stretches of time increase the temperature in your scrotal area and may affect sperm production.
Unhealthy lifestyle habits may lead to infertility among other health issues. They include:
- Alcohol consumption
- Drug addiction
- Emotional stress
Diagnosis and treatment
You should see an expert at a fertility test hospital if you’ve been trying to conceive for at least a year with no luck. Your doctor will carry out a thorough physical examination and study of your medical history. He might recommend additional male fertility tests to help identify the cause of your infertility. Medtravels is a platform that can take you closer to having a child, by helping you come up with the best treatment itinerary.
Some of the common male fertility tests used in diagnosis are:
- Blood tests to check hormone levels
- Genetic tests
- Semen analysis (to check sperm count and motility)
- Scrotal ultrasound
- Testicular biopsy
Your treatment will depend on the underlying reason that is causing the issue. There are several treatment options, including:
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Surgery to repair a physical problem with the testicles
- Treatments to address an infection or disease that’s causing infertility
- Complex treatment methods like in vitro fertilization (IVF) or artificial insemination (in which sperms are injected right into the cervix or uterus) in cases of acute infertility.
Coping with infertility can be an emotionally draining experience. However, with the advance in medical technology and fertility medicine, it is now possible to address infertility and have children with the help of medications, surgeries or assisted reproductive methods.