Male Infertility | Causes | Treatment
Male Infertility refers to an inability to procreate or impregnate the female partner. According to Center for Disease Control, currently 3.3-4.7 million men are infertile in United States. Primary infertility is when a male has never been able to impregnate a female partner despite 1 year of unprotected intercourse; whereas the term of secondary infertility is used for males who have previously impregnated their partners but are now unsuccessful despite at least 2 years of unprotected intercourse.
According to a latest research published in Afrimedic Journal, it has been estimated that the primary complaint of 18.5% of all the males who visit reproductive clinics are primary infertility. Reports also suggested that secondary infertility is even more common in population (accounting for about 59% of all visitors).
Common Causes of Male Infertility
Male infertility or female infertility is a common cause of physical, psychological and emotional stress (Psychological Stress & Adrenaline) that can impact all aspects of a relationship. Data indicates that approximately 15% of all the couples encounter some sort of difficulty in conceiving a baby; male infertility is attributed to almost 50% of such cases.
Normal Semen Sample Must Possess These Characteristics to Avoid Male Infertility
- 2 – 6 ml in volume per ejaculate (Food and Sperm Quality)
- More than 60% motile sperms
- More than 60% sperms (Healthy Sperm: Improved Male Fertility) with normal morphology
- The number of sperms are in the range of 20 to 150 million/ ml
With physiological aging, the chances of male infertility increases. However, the most common cause of male infertility in United States is oligospermia (or low sperm count i.e. less than 20 million sperms/ ml, attributed roughly to approximately 60% of all morphological disorders of sperms).
Notable Causes for Male Infertility
- Any congenital (Pediatric Urology Conditions) or acquired defect that affect the amount or quality of ejaculate (such as blockages of male ducts or Varicoceles (Varicocele Repair Surgery).
- Chronic or long standing illnesses cystic fibrosis (Women Hormone Balance | Natural Hormone Balancing) , diabetes (Excessive Sugar Consumption Effect).
- Major trauma or injury affecting genital structures (Male Genital Deformities: Hypospadias) such astesticular torsion (Penis Deformities | Penis Anomalies) , blunt trauma to genital region etc.
- Certain habits or lifestyle choices such as excessive smoking (Smoking Risks, It’s Time to Stop Smoking) or alcohol (Alcohol Binge Drinking, Dr. Elist’s Advice) consumption.
- Exposure to certain chemicals, pesticides and environmental toxins such as prolonged exposure to lead, mercury etc.
- Certain drugs, medications or hormone supplements (Aphrodisiac Supplements) such as testosterone (Testosterone Effects in Your Body) , steroids, street drugs or chemotherapeutic (Chemotherapeutic Drugs Wiki Page) drugs.
- Erectile dysfunction (Erectile Dysfunction Cause) or related issues like premature ejaculation (premature Ejaculation Signs & Types).
- Spinal injuries that may interfere with the act of performing intercourse.
- Exposure to radiations.
How to Treat Male Infertility
It is very important to identify the cause and nature of male infertility. Besides advanced diagnostic and laboratory procedures, it is also recommended to healthcare professionals to analyze the complete history and perform thorough physical examination to look for relevant associated factors (such as loss of facial hair, problems in getting or maintaining erection or other visible changes in the genital region like a swelling or lumps (Penile Bumps | What Are Penile Bumps?) that may point to a particular cause.
In vast majority of cases, when the cause of male infertility is a systemic condition or organic illness; medical or surgical management can help significantly in improving the chances of conception. For example.
- Antibiotics can be prescribed to treat infections.
- Counseling and pharmacological help can manage male infertility due to erectile dysfunction.
- Testosterone replacement (Testosterone Replacement Options | Testosterone Deficiencies) or hormonal treatments (Female Sexual Dysfunction), if infertility is due to abnormal hormone levels.
Helpful Strategies | Lifestyle Modification That Help Male Infertility
- Detoxification of impurities, chemicals and drugs from the body with the help of diet and fluid detox.
- Maintaining a healthy lifestyle (like maintaining abstinence from alcohol, cigarette smoking and other illicit drugs).
- Seek help for medical illnesses.
- Supplements, such as Vitamin C (Vitamin C Benefits | Reduce Stroke Risk) , selenium, vitamin B complex, Zinc, and other antioxidants (Superfood Alternatives) can also be used to manage infertility according to data reported in Asian journal of Andrology.
Male Infertility Assisted Reproductive Techniques
Often times when lifestyle modification and management of co-morbid health issues doesn’t help, you can always opt for assisted reproductive techniques. Such as
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
It is an assisted reproductive technique that is utilized in cases when male infertility is untreatable or permanent. It is also fairly popular in situations when the male partner is old or when the previous IVF attempts were unsuccessful.
The procedure involves introduction of a sperm directly into a mature egg (inside maternal womb via specialized techniques). The sperm can be obtained from a donor after special preparation.
In males with hypo-motile sperms, the male ejaculate (with more than 50% normal sperms) can be introduced in female genital tract to allow easy movement of sperms to fallopian tubes (where one sperm can fertilize the mature egg). Most fertility specialists also prescribe ovulation (Fertility and Foods: The Five Foods That Help Extend Your Fertility) inducing medications to increase the chances of conception.
Male infertility is a troubling issue for most men; yet there are many productive ways of managing and dealing with this issue. Seek early professional help in order to gauge different therapeutic (Erectile | Erectile Dysfunction Remedies) options. Besides, there are always other suitable alternatives such as adoption.
For more information on male infertility email us [email protected] or call 1-310-652-2600 to speak with a physician that can better assist you with any further questions you may have. Over the phone or in person Mon. – Fri. 9am – 4pm(Pacific Time).
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- Nwajiaku, L. A., Mbachu, I. I., & Ikeako, L. (2013). Prevalence,Clinical Pattern and Major Causes of Male Infertility in Nnewi, South EastNigeria: A Five YearReview. Afrimedic Journal, 3(2), 16-19.
- Lombardo, F., Sansone, A., Romanelli, F., Paoli, D., Gandini, L., & Lenzi, A. (2011). The role of antioxidant therapy in the treatment of male infertility: an overview. Asian journal of andrology, 13(5).
- Jungwirth, A., Giwercman, A., Tournaye, H., Diemer, T., Kopa, Z., Dohle, G., & Krausz, C. (2012). European Association of Urology guidelines on Male Infertility: the 2012 update. European urology, 62(2), 324-332.