This article focuses on male infertility causes. Infertility affects approximately 1 out of every 6 couples. An infertility diagnosis is given to a couple who are unable to conceive over the course of one year. Most people think women are usually responsible for infertility. Infertility is often linked to health problems with men.
About 40 percent of conception problems are attributed to male infertility. When the problem lies with the male partner it is referred to as male infertility. Male infertility factors contribute to approximately 30% of all infertility cases. A variety of disorders ranging from hormonal disturbances to physical problems, to psychological problems can cause male infertility. Although many treatment options are now available, in many cases treatment will not work.
In many instances, male infertility is caused by testicular damage resulting in an inability of the testicle to produce sperm. Once damaged, the testicle will not usually regain its sperm-making capabilities. Despite medicine’s limited ability to treat male infertility, many successful treatment options are also available.
A fertility specialist will usually give you and your partner an initial examination. If a semen analysis isn’t normal, or if anything in your medical or reproductive history indicates you need a more thorough evaluation, you may be referred to a urologist or other male reproduction specialist who can recommend treatment and help you and your partner decide which assisted reproductive technology options to pursue.
Male Infertility Causes
Lifestyle habits lead to male infertility
Male infertility has many causes–from hormonal imbalances, to physical problems, to psychological and/or behavioral problems. Moreover, fertility reflects a man’s “overall” health. Certain lifestyle choices as well as your medical history can affect your reproductive system and fertility. You may be more likely to have trouble conceiving if you:
- Smoke tobacco or marijuana.
- Prolonged use of marijuana and other recreational drugs. Use illegal drugs.
- Have a chronic illness, such as diabetes, cancer, or thyroid disease.
- Significantly overweight.
- Are exposed to toxins, such as pesticides or lead.
- Have a hernia in your groin.
- Alcohol abuse.
- Take anabolic steroids.
- Overly intense exercise.
- Inadequate vitamin C and Zinc in the diet.
- Tight underwear.
- Excessive stress.
- Blockage caused from a previous infection.
Sperm Count or Motility Problem
Most common causes of male infertility are related to sperm health. If you have little to no sperm, poor sperm motility (ability to move), or abnormally shaped sperm, your sperm may not be able to fertilize your partner’s eggs.
Problems with sperm production or quality can be caused by hormonal imbalances, disease or injury to the urinary or genital organs, fever or heat exposure, certain genetic disorders, and various drugs and toxins.
- Possible solutions: Fertility drugs, IUI with donor sperm (or with your own if your count, shape, and motility are sufficient), or IVF with ICSI.
Ejaculation problems may include any of the following:
- Premature ejaculation.
- Retrograde ejaculation, which occurs when the semen is forced back into the bladder.
- Erection dysfunctions.
- Complications from radiation therapy or surgery.
Varicoceles are enlarged veins (like varicose veins) in the scrotum. It raises the temperature in the testes, which may affect sperm production.
- Possible symptoms: Most men have no symptoms, but some may have scrotal pain that varies from dull to sharp, especially after sitting, standing, or exercising for a long period. (Your doctor can check you for varicoceles by doing a physical exam or ultrasound.)
The following is a list of hormonal disorders;
- Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia
- Hypogonadotropic Hypopituitarism
Other causes of male infertility can include
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
- Urinary tract infections.
- Use of certain types of medications.
- Damaged Sperm Ducts.
- Infection and Disease
- Klinefelter’s Syndrome.