Infertility diagnosis is advised to a couple who do not conceive over the period of one year despite having a physical relationship. The problem of infertility has now become very common and is reported in one out of 6 couples. In case it is the male partner responsible for the condition, it is
It is a problem of sperm movement and production of sperm termed as male infertility. Out of all the infertility cases, over 30% of the cases are because of male infertility conditions. Most of the conditions that contribute to male infertility are preventable or treatable. The diagnosis of male fertility is however very complicated. Also, infertility is primarily considered to be associated with women and hence men do not feel concerned about them being infertile. It is important for both men and women to consult a doctor in case couples unable to conceive. However, in the case of a male, it is important to understand male fertility and related facts in details, before consulting the doctor.
What are the causes of male fertility?
Male infertility can be understood as a problem of sperm movement and production of sperm. Some of the common reasons for less sperm count or abnormal sperm movement can be:
For low sperm count:
Varicocele: This is a condition wherein a bulge of veins develops above the testicles. 38% of the cases of male infertility are because of this reason. Luckily, it is a controllable factor.
- Undescended testicle
- An infection in the prostate or testicle
- Chemotherapy treatment for cancer
- Certain medicines can also affect male fertility, such as anabolic steroids or anti-seizure medicines
- Hormonal problem
- Genetic problem
A physician can best advise as to when the condition is treatable and when not.
For abnormal sperm movement:
In case the problem is with the sperm movement, the possible causes can be:
Retrograde ejaculation: As the name suggests, in this condition, the sperm is reversely ejaculated into the bladder.
Absence of vas deferens, the pipeline that carries sperms.
An obstruction in the pipeline between the testicles and the penis.
Antibodies act against the sperms and kill them on their way to the egg.
What is the diagnosis of male fertility?
Identifying the causes of male fertility is intimidating and only a qualified physician can help. The physician will advise some tests, which may include:
Sperm and semen analysis:
A fresh sample of the semen is taken for the test of sperm count. The experts may also examine the sperm for their shape and movement. A higher number of normal sperms indicate that the male is fertile and vice versa. The condition when there are no sperms in the semen is known as azoospermia, which means that there is a plumbing problem and surgery is the treatment.
A urologist performs a physical examination to identify varicocele as well as any underlying hormonal problem.
There are many hormones responsible for sperm production and movement such as testosterone. A hormonal test is done but in most of the cases, it isn’t the cause.
In case the sperm count is very low, a testicular biopsy is performed. A needle biopsy is performed to check the production level of sperms.
Through a genetic test, it is identified if the problems are related to genetics.
What are the treatments of male infertility?
Male fertility is treatable in most of the cases and the ultimate goal is to help couples conceive the most common infertility treatments include:
- In the case of varicocele, it can be treated through surgery to unblock the abnormal veins. In most of the cases, this is the most common reason and the treatment is effective.
- In the case of hormonal abnormalities, medicines are effective for treatment.
- In the case of obstructions, surgery is performed to correct the plumbing.
Lately, many innovative and advanced treatments have come in a light which has helped in a range of male infertility cases. Assisted Reproductive Techniques (ARTs) are very powerful and result-oriented. Although a little expensive, this treatment has shown great results.
In the first step of ARTs, experts collect semen either with the help of a needle directly from the penis or through natural ejaculation. These eggs are then introduced to the eggs in one or many ways. These methods include:
Intrauterine insemination (IUI.)
The sperms are directly injected into the uterus when the ovulation happens. The woman is offered some medication that influences the higher number of egg production.
In-vitro fertilization (IVF.)
In this process, the sperms are fused with multiple eggs which are collected from the woman in a test tube. The eggs that fertilize are placed in the uterus for further process.
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI.)
A needle is used to inject a single sperm into the egg. As soon as the egg is fertilized, it is transferred and implanted in the uterus. When the sperm count is extremely low, this procedure is performed.
Home remedies for male infertility treatment:
There are a number of ways that can be used to increase the sperm count in the best possible way. One of the primary things is to avoid affecting the chances of sperm by avoiding marijuana, tobacco and more than two alcoholic drinks in a day. Whirlpools and hot baths are also known to affect the chances of having viable sperm.
It is also recommended to avoid taking testosterone or any other androgen drug. Usually, these drugs are consumed for weight training.
How to prevent male infertility?
There isn’t much to be done to prevent male infertility that is caused by genetic disorders. But, there are certain ways to avoid the problem to some extent which includes:
- Prevention from sexually transmitted diseases
- No illicit drug usage
- Avoid exposure to radiation
- Limited use of alcohol
- High personal hygiene practices
- Loose-fitting undergarments
Male infertility is a serious problem, growing at an exponential rate. To avoid the condition is the best way out, however, if you have it already, the modern treatments are very effective. In case you experience the symptoms of male infertility or any discomfort while having sex, and not being able to conceive, you must consult the physician as soon as possible.