Male infertility

Specialty of Andrology

Male infertility is a health condition where a male’s chances of getting his partner pregnant a reduced. Infertility is classed as being unable to conceive after frequent, unprotected sex, with around 15% of couples unable to conceive when having unprotected sex, approximately 40-50% of these cases are due to male infertility.

What are the causes of male infertility?

The most common cause of infertility in men is either the production of low amounts of sperm, the sperm being damaged or of low quality, such as not being able to move properly, making it difficult to swim to the egg, or finally due to abnormal sperm, such as sperm that are an abnormal shape, again, making it difficult to swim to the egg.

It is not fully understood why the sperm becomes damaged or low in number, but it is believed that incorrect temperature regulation, such as the testicles being too hot from tight clothes, or from having a source of heat such as a laptop close to the genitals for long periods.

Other factors that may cause male infertility

Other reasons for male infertility may be as a result of infection or damage to the testicles, testicular cancer, or testicular surgery may reduce sperm production.

Some men may have problems ejaculating during sex, causing further difficulty in causing pregnancy. A condition known as hypogonadism, where males have an abnormally low level of testosterone can often be a cause of low levels of sperm.

There are many other factors that can have a detrimental effect on the quality and quantity of sperm produced by a man, and numerous conditions that can have an affect. Lifestyle choices that are known to cause low sperm count, or abnormal sperm include recreational drug use, smoking and drinking excessively, obesity, and high levels of stress.

How can male infertility be prevented?

Many of the causes mentioned above are unavoidable, and the next course of action for couples wanting to get pregnant may be to explore other options such as IVF treatment, or egg freezing. Making changes to the lifestyle will also help the chances of producing healthy sperm. Avoiding smoking, cutting down on alcohol intake and eating healthily will likely have beneficial effects, along with reducing stress levels where possible.

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