Nearly 13 out of 100 couples are infertile, which means they are unable to conceive a child, even though they have frequent unprotected sexual intercourse for a year or longer. Female infertility accounts for around one third of infertility cases, while male infertility accounts for another one third of the cases. The remaining one third of the cases could be due to a mix of male and female infertility. The inability to conceive a child can be stressful and frustrating and will cause relationship problems among couples.
What are the causes of male infertility?
There are many causes that cause male infertility but almost all are linked to testosterone and sperm production. We can categorize male infertility into different categories:
- Medical Causes:
- Sperm Disorders: Sperm might not grow fully, be in odd shape, low energy level, low in number or no sperm is being produced at all. This is called azoospermia
- Varicocele: It is a condition where there is swelling of the veins that drain the testicles. Poor blood flow will lead to reduced sperm quality and quantity.
- Infection: Some infections can interfere or affect sperm production and sperm quality. These include epididymitis, orchitis or some sexually transmitted disease like gonorrhea.
- Ejaculation issue: Retrograde ejaculation occurs when semen enters the bladder instead of out of the tip of penis during ejaculation.
- Tumor: Cancer or noncancerous tumors can affect the male reproductive organ directly or through the glands that produce hormones related to reproduction.
- Undescended testicles: Failure to descend testicles into the abdomen during fetal development also will affect sperm production
- Hormone imbalances: Low hormone will cause infertility as well for example thyroid or testosterone.
- Defects or blockage of tubules that transport sperm
- Chromosome problem: Inherited disorder will cause infertility, for example Klinefelter’s syndrome
- Problem with sexual intercourse: problem like erectile dysfunction will contribute to fertility issues as well
- Environmental Causes:
- Extended or excess exposure to certain chemical may cause low sperm count and lead to infertility: pesticides, herbicides, painting material, heavy metal, radiation and X-ray
- Overheating the testicles: Elevated temperature may impair sperm production and function.
- Lifestyle Causes:
- Alcohol and Drug use: Excessive usage of anabolic steroid will shrink the testicle and reduce sperm production. Use of cocaine/marijuana will reduce sperm count and affect sperm quality.
- Tobacco smoking: Men who smoke or who are exposed to secondhand smoke may have low sperm count
How to investigate for male infertility?
Usually, your doctor will perform a general examination on you. Beside this, a general health screening blood and urine check up will be done to make sure you are healthy and have no other medical illnesses.
The most common test that needs to be done is semen analysis test. For those who are going to do semen analysis test, he should refrain from sexual intercourse or masturbation for 3 days prior the test. This can help to make sure that the most accurate result will be obtained from the test.
Hormonal tests will be required as well to rule out hormonal causes that cause low sperm count or poor sperm quality.
An ultrasound scan of testicles will also be required to look for any abnormality in testicles.
If sperm concentration is extremely low, genetic tests need to be done as well to look for any genetic abnormality.
Treatment for male infertility
The treatment for male infertility will be started based on the causes that were found through investigation. Often, an exact cause of infertility can’t be found. Even when sometimes the causes are not clear, doctors might still be able to recommend treatments or procedures that will lead to conception.
It has been proven that a diet or supplement that is high in micronutrients and antioxidants will help to improve fertility. Supplements are one of the most effective and practical ways to make sure we get enough nutrition and antioxidants that are required to boost fertility.
- Profortil is a health supplement that helps in male fertility. It is composed of amino acids, coenzyme Q10, vitamins and minerals that will support normal fertility and reproductive function of men. It will help to improve sperm quality and motility as well
Treatment uses to treat male infertility:
- Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) injection
- hCG injection helps to boost sperm production and testosterone production as well. With hCG injection, it will help the testicles to generate more testosterone and sperm.
Other treatments like assisted reproductive technology like intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF) will be recommended after trying other treatments.