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Common Causes for Male Infertility

Obstruction in the reproductive tract

Varicoceles

Irregular Sperm

Sperm allergy

Ejaculation problems

Cryptorchidism

Hormone deficiency

Injury and medication

About 14% of couples in the USA are found to have problems in conceiving. If a couple tries for one year or more to get pregnant and does not succeed, they can be considered having fertility problem. The general belief that only women have infertility problem is not true. Statistics show that 32% of the failure in conception is due to problems in men, 25% in women, 17% a combination of problems in both and the rest for unknown reasons. A couple who does not conceive within one year of attempt must see the doctor. The time recommended for those who are over 35 is six months. Some common reasons for infertility in men and their remedies are explained below.

Causes for Male Infertility

Obstruction in the reproductive tract

A small number of men have blockages in the ejaculatory duct which prevents the sperms joining the ejaculate fluid. They may be producing sperms in the testes but the sperms are obstructed from going out through the penis due to urinary track infection, injury, scarring by sexually transmitted diseases, anatomical defects or vasectomy. There are no external symptoms for obstruction. Surgery to remove the obstruction or to reverse vasectomy is the remedy. 80 to 90% success is found in this surgery and about half the couples are found to conceive within one or two years.

Varicoceles

Varicocele is caused by the enlargement of the veins in the scrotum. It is like the varicose vein. The enlargement of the veins in the scrotum causes an increase in the temperature there. The increased temperature in the scrotum affects the production of sperms as well as the quality of the sperm. About 40% of the male infertility is caused by this condition. There is no external symptom for this. It can only be detected by a physical check up. Surgery is found to succeed in increasing the number and quality of the sperms. But success rate in conception is low. More research is being done on this male condition. Your doctor is the best person to advise you on this.

Irregular Sperm

If your sperm count is very low or no sperms at all, the sperm motility is poor or the sperms are abnormal they cannot fertilize your partner’s egg. Sperm motility is the ability of the sperm to move. There is no external symptom for irregular sperm. The possible remedies are intrauterine insemination (IUI) with donor sperm or with your own sperm if it is not too abnormal in count, motility and shape. Other remedies are intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and drug therapy for her to increase the number of eggs.

Sperm allergy

Sperm allergy is a condition in which your sperms are killed by the antibodies produced by your own body. The antibodies are produces normally after a vasectomy, testicular torsion, infection or accident. Testicular torsion is caused by testicle twists inside the scrotum. 3% of male infertility is caused by this reason. Solutions are IUI, ICSI or the use of steroid drugs. Steroid drugs are not prescribed by many doctors because their effectiveness in not proved and they have severe side-effects.

Ejaculation problems

This is a condition in which there is no ejaculation or retrograde ejaculation takes place. Retrograde ejaculation takes place when the nerves or the muscles in your bladder do no work properly. In that condition sperm is carried back into the bladder instead of forward through the penis. The cloudy urine after an ejaculation is caused by this. Other ejaculation problems are caused by diseases like diabetes, multiple sclerosis, damage during surgery, spinal cord injury and psychological problems. The symptoms for this are problems in ejaculating, inability to ejaculate and retained ejaculate. The treatment for retrograde ejaculation is to block the tube to the bladder. Drug treatment is used for psychological blockage of erection and ejaculation. Treatments for others are the use of electro or vibratory stimulants to aid ejaculation and surgical sperm retrieval for assisted conception technique. The success rate of treatment for retrograde ejaculation is 56 to 79%. For assisted conception the success rate is 16 to 100%.

Cryptorchidism

This is a condition in which the testes do not properly descent into the scrotom. That keeps the temperature of the testes equal to that of the body. The higher temperature affects the productions of the sperms. If only one of the testes is affected by this condition, it may not affect the male fertility. Cryptorchidism is commonly found in prematurely born babies. But it corrects itself within weeks. If not corrected itself a surgery can set it right.

Hormone deficiency

Sperm production is affected if there is a deficiency in male hormones like testosterone. The age at which the male entered puberty can help determine disorders due to hormone deficiency.

Injury and medication



Sports injuries and accidents can affect the male reproductive system and his fertility. Likewise, some medicines also can cause sexual dysfunction in males. The doctor examining you for infertility must be told of all the medicines you use.

When a couple is having fertility problem, it is necessary that both the partners must be evaluated for their fertility. The doctor will have a thorough physical check up and examine the man’s sperm. Infertility Treatment is determined only after that.

(Read more about Cause of female infertility)

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