What is Male Infertility?

What is infertility?

Infertility is the inability to get pregnant after trying for at least 1 year without using birth control. About 15% of couples are infertile.

Male infertility is generally diagnosed and could be achieved by physical examination, blood tests, semen analysis and a survey of the man’s medical history. Urologists specializing in male infertility are the people to consult for.

Should men be checked for infertility?

The physical exam is important for identifying tissues related to male infertility. Parts to be examined include both the scrotum and of the peritesticular area. Semen Analysis is often critical in determining a man’s fertility, and is often recommended to rule out male infertility before the woman undergoes any invasive procedure.

How is infertility evaluated?

Semen volume: Normal volume is 1.0-6.5 milliliters (mL) per ejaculate. The absence of semen, a very rare occurrence, is known as aspermia.

Sperm count: Normal sperm count is over 20 million sperm per mL. A count below this is termed oligospermia while the absence of sperm altogether is termed azoospermia

Sperm motility: Forward motion capacity. Normal motility is about 8 million sperm per mL showing good motility.

Sperm morphology: Measuring how many sperm are shaped normally. Abnormally shaped sperm appear variously at the head (two heads, tiny heads, round heads) and tail (two tails, short tails). These shapes tend to affect their motility as well.

  • liquefaction time,
  • PH levels,
  • fructose levels.

For the latter factors, numbers below the average amount can signify infertility.

The medical history is crucial in helping to diagnose infertility. The history may include environmental factors, medications, drug use, sexual habits, episodes of testicular trauma and surgical history.

How to prevent  male infertility?

One of the biggest way to prevent male infertility is to have protective sex. Infections and other sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis can cause damage to the reproductive tract. Another important preventive measure is to surgically treat undescended testes at an early age to prevent damage, preferably at age of two. It may also be a good idea to immunize boys against mumps in childhood, thus preventing the ravage which mumps can cause to the testes in later life.

Alcohol, cocaine, marijuana and other drugs can reduce sex drive and may damage sperm production. Smoking tobacco also affects reproductive function. It’s best not to smoke, drink or use drugs.

Radiation, radioactive materials, anesthetic gases, and industrial chemicals such as lead, the pesticide DBCP and the pharmaceutical solvent ethylene oxide can reduce fertility by impairing sperm production. Intense exposure to heat in the workplace can also cause long-term and even permanent impairment of sperm production. You should be aware of these hazards and may need to control your exposure if fertility is a concern.

Most doctors would prescribe vitamins, antioxidants and selenium, although the effect of these on male fertility is still under investigation. Traditional advise included taking cold water showers and wearing loose underwear, to help keep the testicular temperature low and sperm friendly, but the results can be unpredictable.