Male infertility is due to low sperm production, abnormal sperm function or blockages that prevent the delivery of sperm. Illnesses, injuries, chronic health problems, lifestyle choices and other factors can play a role in causing male infertility.
About one in 20 men have low numbers of sperm, causing infertility. However, only about one in every 100 men has no sperm at all.
Not being able to conceive a child can be stressful and frustrating, but a number of male infertility treatments are available.
Causes of Male Infertility
Approximately 66% of infertile men have a problem where they make low numbers of sperm and/or sperm that don’t work properly.
About one in five infertile men have other physical problems, including those who have had a vasectomy but now want to have children. Blockages (often called obstructions) in the tubes leading from the testicles to the penis can stop you ejaculating sperm.
Other less common causes of male infertility include sexual problems, low levels of hormones made in the brain, and sometimes genetic related.
The most common genetic include causes of infertility are chromosomal conditions that affect the way that sperm is produced. Klinefelter’s Syndrome (a condition where you’re born with an extra X chromosome),Y chromosome deletions (a condition where you have genetic material missing from your Y chromosome that is important for sperm production), and other genetic problems, such as Down’s Syndrome
Evaluation of Male Infertility
Evaluation for Male Infertility involves a history and physical. Sperm assessment in the form of a semen analysis is needed. This will check the number, shape and movement of your sperm. They might also take a blood test to check the levels of hormones that control sperm production or for genetic testing. In some cases, your doctor will test your urine to see if sperm are present, which can occur when there is retrograde ejaculation. Sometimes an ultrasound, MRI or testicular biopsy may be recommended.
One in eight infertile men have a treatable condition, and after treatment, couples can become pregnant naturally.
In some cases, your doctor will recommend that you and your partner seek assisted reproductive treatment such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).