Male infertility afflicts about 50% of all infertile couples. Within one year of trying, 80-85% of couples will get pregnant; it takes longer than a year for 15-20% of couples. Male infertility is usually diagnosed when there is a problem with his sperm analysis, either no or not enough sperms or sperms that are abnormal.
Here are some of the causes of male infertility; though this list is not complete, these are the most common causes of male infertility.
- Sperm can become trapped inside the testicles.
- STD's (Sexually transmitted diseases) can cause male tube damage.
- Varicoceles, this is where the veins around the testicles enlarge.
- Mumps, if your man had mumps as a child, this could have caused a drop in sperm production.
- Some genetic illnesses can cause male infertility.
- Some cancer treatments can cause damage to the cells that produce sperm.
- Testicles that didn't descend at birth and can cause poor quality sperm and reduced sperm production.
- Vasectomy reversal can lead to low quality sperm.
- Hormonal problems can lead to poor quality or or low levels of sperm.
There are other factors that can cause male infertility. These can be psychological as well as medical problems.
- Erectile dysfunction, if your partner finds it hard to get and maintain an erection, this will cause problems with conception.
- Lifestyle and stress can also be factors in how fertile you partner is.
- Some recreational drugs can affect sperm production. Medicinal prescribed drugs can also have an effect on the quality of sperm. If you are taking a prescribed drug, make sure that your GP knows that you are planning to start a family. Some Anabolic steroids will cease sperm production completely!
Testing for Male Infertility
If you and you partner have been trying to get pregnant for over a year (it doesn't happen overnight, and it is advisable to give it 12 months) it may be advisable to visit your GP.
Tests for male infertility may include:
- Semen analysis
- Medical history check
- Blood tests
- Urine tests
- Some forms of genetic testing
- Sperm function testing
- Testicular biopsy
Once the reason for male infertility has been established, arrangements can be made for treatments.