Male Infertility – Causes and Prevention
Male infertility probably isn't something you’ve heard much about or talked much about with your friends or wife. Unfortunately, for couples that are having a hard time conceiving, male fertility may be the taboo topic that’s preventing them from creating the family they desire. The good news is that most of the time, male infertility is reversible and completely preventable.
How Common Is Male Infertility?
Up to 15 percent of healthy couples will have difficulty conceiving after 1 year of trying. From this group, roughly one third of couples will experience male infertility. Another third will discover fertility problems in both partners. The remaining third will experience fertility problems in the female only.
How is Male Infertility Diagnosed?
Male infertility is easy to diagnose. A simple semen analysis will reveal whether or not the male partner has any abnormalities that may be preventing pregnancy from occurring. A typical test involves the male providing a semen sample that will undergo a simple evaluation to measure the amount of sperm present as well as their shape and movement patterns. The test will be repeated twice to confirm results.
If the results are abnormal, further testing may be recommended. For example, a specialized analysis can be ordered to look at the genetics of the sperm to check for antibodies and to see if they are mobile. Blood work to check hormone levels may be needed and in extreme cases, a biopsy may be recommended.
What are Symptoms of Male Infertility?
There are many symptoms of male infertility. Besides experiencing a lack of pregnancy after a year of trying, there are other, less obvious symptoms of male infertility. These symptoms include abnormal hair growth, low libido and other performance problems.
There are certain risk factors that can increase the chances of male infertility. These risks include obesity, advanced age, certain STDs, smoking and excessive drinking. There are also a number of medications that can cause infertility in men.
What Treatment Options are There?
Treatment for male infertility will depend on the cause. If infection is the problem, treatment will include antibiotics. If there is a physical problem, such as a damaged duct, surgical correction may be required. If sperm production is the issue, medication or fertility drugs can likely correct any problem.
Lifestyle changes may also be recommended including losing weight, stopping smoking and reducing alcohol consumption. If the cause of the male infertility cannot be pinpointed, the couple may be referred for IVF or IUI treatments.
If you think you are experiencing male infertility, schedule an appointment with your doctor today. There are numerous treatments available, so you and your wife can create the family you’ve always wanted.