It may seem as though having a baby is a natural and easy experience for most couples. The reality is that there are many couples who have a very difficult time getting pregnant. Unlike infertility in women, causes of male infertility aren’t always quite as obvious.
Are you Experiencing Male Infertility?
There are a variety of different factors that can affect how fertile you are. In one out of every five couples who are experiencing infertility issues, the problem lies with the man.
One of the main difficulties with male fertility is that there are little or no symptoms. Intercourse and ejaculation can appear to be perfectly normal even when there are abnormalities with the sperm.
This is why it’s imperative that if you’re having problems conceiving, that both you and your partner undergo infertility testing to determine what treatment can be used to help you get pregnant.
Semen Problems and Infertility
Male infertility is often caused by abnormalities with the sperm. Some of the reasons for these abnormalities include the following:
- Low sperm count – This can also mean there is no sperm at all. This is also known as “obstructive azoospermia.”
- Sperm abnormalities – Sperm that has an abnormal shape may have difficulty reaching the egg.
- Decreased mobility of the sperm – This means that it will be more difficult for the sperm to reach the egg for fertilization.
Of all the sperm that are deposited into the vagina, only a few hundred or so will have an opportunity to get near the egg for fertilization to take place. In order for the sperm to succeed, there are several things that need to happen.
When even one small factor is out of order male fertility can be decreased. Semen testing is the first step when it comes to diagnosing your fertility.
Healthy Testicles for Fertility
Sperm is produced and stored in the testicles. If there is any damage to the testicles the quality of sperm can be severely affected. Anyone of the following issues can play a role in sperm quality and quantity:
- Testicular surgery or cancer.
- Infection in one or both of the testicles.
- Undescended testicles. This is when one or both of the testicles have not descended down into the scrotum.
- Congenital defects.
- Injury to the testicles.
Sperm production is also adversely affected when the testicles are exposed to higher temperatures. Along with these causes of male infertility, there is some truth to the myth that men who are trying to conceive with their partner should avoid hot tubs and tight clothing.
Factors of Male Infertility
There are other causes of male infertility include:
- Age: The older a man is the less fertile he is. Your fertility will start to decline after the age of 35. One of the main reasons for this is that sperm mobility is greatly affected by age.
- Smoking: New studies show that smoking tobacco can have a very negative impact on the quality of your sperm.
- Alcohol: Drinking a lot of alcohol can adversely affect the male reproductive system.
- Cancer: If you’ve had cancer treatment such as chemotherapy and radiation in the groin area, your fertility may be at risk. Talk to your doctor if you’re undergoing cancer treatment and trying to get pregnant at the same time.
- STDs: Sexually transmitted diseases can harm and damage some parts of the male reproductive system through which the sperm need to travel.
- Scrotal Varicocele: This condition is one of the easily identified causes of male infertility. The varicose vein, otherwise known as the varicocele, may inhibit the production of sperm. Up to 40 percent of infertile men will have this disorder.
- Retrograde Ejaculation: With this disorder, the ejaculate moves back into the bladder rather than being ejaculated out through the penis. This can result in too little sperm or no sperm at all.
- Erectile Dysfunction: Being able to achieve and maintain an erection is necessary for conception to happen.
Accurate Testing for Male Fertility
It’s essential that you and your partner are tested for infertility if you’ve been trying for a few months to get pregnant. It’s important that semen analysis is performed as soon as possible to rule out less common reasons for infertility.
The moment that you have any questions about your fertility it’s time to talk to your doctor. The longer you wait, the harder it may be to find answers that are stopping you and your partner from having a baby.
Coping with Male Infertility
Coping with male infertility can be very difficult. Many men see their inability to impregnate their partner as a failure. This can often lead to negative emotions such as frustration, anger, guilt and depression.
With so many different tests available there’s no reason why you shouldn’t get tested as soon as you can.
Not testing for infertility causes that are often easily diagnosed means that you and your partner may be going through a lot of heartbreak for no reason.