In our everyday lives, male infertility issues can often be ignored. There tends to be more focus on female fertility in the media. However, at IVI UK, we understand that this need not be the case. So, male infertility problems are important if you and your partner are having trouble getting pregnant. About 30% of fertility problems are due to male fertility causes. About 30 percent are due to female fertility factors. And the remaining 40% are due either to a combination of factors or unexplained.
What is infertility in males?
Infertility is a reproductive system disease. This makes a person unable to have children. It could affect a man, a woman, or both. Male infertility means that a man has difficulties with his reproductive system. This means that you cannot begin pregnancy with your female partner.
Who is at risk of infertility in males?
You would be more likely to have male infertility if you had:
- The past disease of the prostate or past genital infection
- Injury or twisting of the testicles
- Early or late puberty
- Genital exposure to high temperatures
- Hernia repair
- Undescended testicles
You may also be at risk if you take those medications without a prescription. So, that includes medicines for ulcers, psoriasis, asthma, and high blood pressure.
What’s the cause of infertility in males?
Natural male reproduction depends on a number of factors.
You have to be able to:
- Make good sperm that will fertilize the egg.
- Have an erection and ejaculate so that the sperm enters the egg.
Problems with any of these may mean that you have infertility. Here are some of the key causes of infertility in males:
1. Low sperm count/sperm quality
If your sperm count is low, it could be due to varicocele, an enlarged vein in your testicle. Because varicocele causes about 40% of male fertility problems. Hence, they will cause the testicles to overheat, making the temperature too high for sperm to develop.
Your urologist will tell you if your varicocele has to be surgically repaired to improve your fertility. The treatment closes the varicocele, which redirects the supply of blood to normal veins. This can cure infertility problems and increase sperm production.
Perhaps one of the semen-carrying tubes may be blocked. Your doctor looks for a blockage in these tubes using ultrasound. If one is detected, but your sperm production is normal, you may benefit from surgical bypass surgery.
Not all sperm moves well, and not all of them are shaped normally. They may have more than one tailor crooked head. So, they may not be able to swim towards the egg. Hence, if complications with sperm count, quality, or transmission result in continuing infertility in males and therapies have not worked, assisted reproductive technology is available. So, sperm may be used from natural ejaculation, surgically removed, or obtained from a donor.
2. Hormonal Disorder
You may have a hormone disorder, which can account for around a third of male fertility problems. Testosterone is a hormone that causes male growth and development. The developments include deepened voice, body hair growth, and penis and scrotum growth.
If you are diagnosed with hypogonadism, the body does not produce enough testosterone. You can be born with a disease (primary hypogonadism) or grow after injury or illness (secondary hypogonadism). The secondary causes are various, including pituitary tumors and inflammatory disorders such as sarcoidosis. Furthermore, supplemental testosterone lowers sperm production. But it is not used to correct the hormonal disorder.
Your specialist can test your hormone level with a simple morning blood test. Doctors can use assisted reproductive technology methods in hypogonadism cases. They can use intracytoplasmic sperm injection, in which a single sperm cell is inserted into a female egg.
3. Testicular damage
Testicles contain the sperm and protect the fragile cells from the outside. Damage to your testicles can significantly affect your fertility. Moreover, damage can affect the quality and quantities of sperm. So does overheat may have a significant effect on their quality. Also, keeping your testicles cool is important to maintain an optimal sperm temperature. So, you can follow simple ways to do this including not sitting down for a long time and not wearing too tight underwear. Moreover, other testicular damage sources include:
- Sports trauma
- Testicular surgery
- A congenital disability
- And undescended testicles
4. Ejaculation disorders
Having issues with ejaculation will affect your fertility if the sperm cannot enter the egg. Examples of ejaculatory disorders include:
- Premature ejaculation (where ejaculation happens too early)
- Retrograde ejaculation (where semen is ejaculated throughout the bladder)
- And the inability to ejaculate
If problems with ejaculation affect your fertility, you may want to learn more about Surgical Sperm Retrieval. You can discuss this with an IVI clinic specialist.
There is a significant discussion on the effect of cell phone radiation on infertility in males. Only one meta-study presented significant data on the effect. But, we recommend that men not keep mobile phones close to the scrotum and testicles. Cancer therapy, such as chemotherapy, is a less avoidable cause of radiation exposure. In this case, the fertility protocol involves sperm freezing and other specialized procedures. As a result, these include a testicular biopsy or sperm stem cell removal and freezing.
The assumption that men can regenerate in advanced age is completely untrue. After 35, the reproductive capacity of men falls sharply, like DNA in the nucleus fragments. After the age of 40, the probability of men raising children without genetic mutations decreases by 11 percent every year. Children with fathers older than 50 years of age are slightly more likely to suffer from:
- Down Syndrome
- Kleinfelter Syndrome
7. Lifestyle Choices
Choosing healthier lifestyle choices is one of the most significant ways to improve fertility. The following lifestyle decisions can cause male infertility by damaging sperm production, quantity, or sperm passage:
- Excessive drinking,
- Illegal recreational substances such as cocaine and marijuana, steroids,
- An unhealthful diet,
- Unsafe sex leading to sexually transmitted infections/diseases that can obstruct sperm passage
8. Environmental toxins
Unfortunately, some facets of the environment also lead to infertility in males. Exposure to toxic substances such as pesticides and lead can destroy man’s ability to produce the strong sperm required to create life. So, try to minimize or eliminate the amount of time or quantity you are exposed to these dangerous chemicals.
The Bottom Line
Finding out that you’re infertile is always a shocking and unsettling experience. There is still a common but incorrect belief that infertility is a woman’s issue. So men are often unprepared when they’re told there’s a sperm complication.
As a matter of fact, fertility issues can affect a man’s sense of masculinity, sexuality, and strength.
Although it’s normal to have an emotional response to infertility in males. Moreover, talking with a doctor, sexual therapist, or counselor can often help with any negative feelings.
It may also help to turn to families, partners, and friends for support.