The term “infertility” describes an inability to get pregnant despite frequent unprotected sexual activity for at least a year for most people. However, in some cases, six months are enough to diagnose this condition. According to statistics, ten to fifteen percent of couples in the United States cannot become pregnant.
Infertility may result from a single abnormality in one of the partners. Alternatively, this condition may be due to a combination of factors that interfere with the ability to conceive or maintain a pregnancy. Luckily, nowadays, there are numerous efficient and safe ways to deal with infertility. Moreover, treatments increase the chances of getting pregnant significantly.
Pregnancy is a result of adequately functioning complex processes of ovulation and fertilization. The disturbance of these factors leads to infertility in the couple. The last may be present from birth (congenital) or develop during the lifespan. The cause of infertility may involve one or both partners. As the statistics show:
- about one-third of all infertility cases are due to abnormality only in the male
- about one-third of all infertility cases are due to abnormality only in the female
- the last one-third of infertility cases either involve both partners, or the cause cannot be determined
Male infertility causes
Male infertility may be a result of different health problems:
- Difficulties with sperm delivery due to sexual issues can result in male infertility. These problems may include premature ejaculation, retrograde ejaculation (when during the orgasm, the sperm enters the bladder instead of passing through the penis), injury to reproductive organs. In addition, certain genetic disorders like cystic fibrosis may interfere with sperm delivery. The same effect can cause the blockage of the epididymis, which is a testicle’s part containing sperm.
- Abnormalities in sperm production or function can cause problems with male fertility. They can arise as a result of different issues. Last includes genetic diseases, certain infections like mumps, undescended testicles, abnormal health conditions such as diabetes, trauma, or previous surgeries on the testicles or genital area. Moreover, enlargement of veins in the testes can enhance blood flow and, therefore, increase the heat. It, in turn, may impact the sperm count and shape.
- Excessive exposure to some chemicals and toxins may be a reason for male infertility development. Tobacco smoke, marijuana, pesticides, alcohol, steroids, and radiation fall into this group of substances. What’s more, frequent exposure to high temperatures, for example, in saunas, can increase the temperature of testicles and negatively affect sperm production.
- Cancer and its treatment can affect male fertility. In particular, radiation and chemotherapy can interfere with sperm production, sometimes critically. In addition, surgical removal of the testicle to treat cancer may also cause male infertility.
Risk factors for male infertility
The group of factors may increase the risk of acquiring fertility problems. They are:
- age (males over 40 may not be as fertile as younger ones)
- excessive alcohol consumption
- being overweight
Nearly all of the listed factors may lead to a drop in sperm count. In addition, some of them can result in erectile dysfunction or impaired sperm motility. These abnormalities, in turn, may become a cause of male infertility.
Male infertility symptoms
The primary symptom of infertility is an inability for the couple to get pregnant. Sometimes, men with this diagnosis may show signs of hormonal issues. Symptoms may include changes in hair growth or sexual function.