Causes of Male Infertility
Male Infertility factors attributing to problems in conception can be categorized into the following:
- Erectile dysfunction: Men may be unable to maintain an erection good enough for sex, leading to painful intercourse and premature ejaculation.
- Undescended testis: Sometimes men are infertile if testicles fail to descend from the abdomen into the sac containing testicles during fetal development.
- Scrotal varicocele: Uncontrollable accumulation of bulging veins above the testicles also lead to male infertility, but it can be treated.
- Retrograde ejaculation: Semen ejaculates reversely into the bladder instead of ejaculating out of the penis. This condition may appear because of previous surgical history.
- Testicular injury: Injury to the testes may also lead to male infertility.
- Previous Vasectomy: Some surgeries like vasectomy, inguinal hernia repairs, prostrate surgeries and other large abdominal surgeries may lead to problems in sperm ejaculation. These surgeries are sometimes done to treat blockage and also to get sperm directly from the epididymis and testicles.
Genetic quality, mobility and count of sperm decreases with age and thus, it may affect conception rates.
Medical history also causes sperm abnormalities like poor sperm movement, abnormal shape and low count of sperm. Some of the conditions that may affect conception rates include:
- Treatments for cancer such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy affects fertility of sperm.
- Persisting medical ailments such as diabetes and high blood pressure may lead to infertility.
- Prostrate infections restrict production of sperm, affect sperm health and also blocks passage of sperm.
- Infertility can be caused due to disorders of testicles.
- Abnormalities that affect hormonal systems such as pituitary, thyroid and adrenal glands also cause infertility.
- Chances of infertility depend on family history of cystic fibrosis and other genetic disorders.
Lifestyle and Health Causes
- Testicles shrink and the quantity of sperm reduces due to consumption of anabolic steroids used to increase strength and growth of muscles.
- Consumption of cocaine also reduce quality and quantity of sperms produced.
- Smoking also affects male fertility.
- Alcohol decreases testosterone levels, leading to erectile dysfunction and lower sperm count.
- Obesity also affects fertility in men.
- Stress decreases the amount of sperm-producing hormones.
Sometimes environmental elements such as heat, chemicals and toxins also affect sperm count and functioning. The following factors may affect sperm count and mobility:
- Prolonged exposure to chemicals such as pesticides, benezenes and xylene
- Exposure to high doses of radiation
- Lead and other heavy metals
- High temperatures while taking sauna baths
Male Infertility Diagonosis
Sometimes men can still contribute to infertility inspite of, producing optimum amount and quality of semen, having no problems in erection or intercourse and ejaculating normally. In such males, specific factors leading to infertility are figured out with the help of following basic medical tests:
- Sperm and Semen Analysis
In this test, semen is analyzed and checked for sperm count, shape, movement and other variables. Normal shaped sperms indicate greater fertility. However, many men with low sperm counts are not always infertile.
- Physical Examination
Physical examination is also prescribed by urologist to examine varicocele and hormonal problems.
- Hormonal Evaluation
Production of sperm is controlled by testosterone and other hormones produced in the brain. A hormonal evaluation helps analyze whether there is a problem with the hormonal functioning or release, leading to infertility.
- Testicular Biopsy
Men with very low sperm count or no sperm in their semen are asked to undergo biopsy of the testicles to check whether the produced sperms are healthy or if there is any blockage.