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Men’s Health – Male Infertility

Male Infertility

What Is Male Infertility?

Male infertility is the failure of a male to impregnate a fertile female and the male partner is the cause of infertility in couples 40% of the time.  A number of factors contribute to male infertility and these range from physical problems to psychological problems.  In any case, there are treatment options available to address male infertility and successfully treat males that will help couples achieve pregnancy.

 

Causes Of Male Infertility

Testicular damage, low sperm production and poor sperm quality are the main causes of male infertility.  Other causes of male infertility include smoking, which can significantly decrease sperm count and sperm cell mobility, recreational drug uses, alcohol abuse, steroid use, tight underwear, and stress.  Several medical conditions and other factors contribute to male infertility and each individual case is different.  There can be one cause, several causes, or there may be no particular cause.


Diagnosing Male Infertility

Male infertility is usually diagnosed by examining a patient’s medical history and then having a medical exam performed.  During the exam, a semen analysis is performed.  The patient provides a semen example, and the lab will evaluate sperm shape, movement, and measure the amount of semen and the number of sperm.  The lab will also check for infections and other problems that may be causing infertility.  To ensure accuracy, a minimum of two semen analyses are performed.  In some cases, if the problem is not found in a semen analysis, additional tests can be performed.  These include scrotal ultrasound, transrectal ultrasound, hormone testing, and genetic testing to name a few.  However, when infertility is an issue, it is recommended that the female partner be examined and tested.

 

Treatment Options

Once diagnosed, there are several treatments for male infertility that a patient can undergo.  These treatments include the following:

  • Surgeries ~ There are different types of surgical procedures that may restore sperm flow such as removing a varicocele, repairing a duct obstruction and performing a vasectomy reversal.
  • Treatment of Infections ~ Patients can be prescribed antibiotics to treat male infertility problems.  If treated early, permanent damage can be avoided.  If there is scarring or blockage caused by infection, surgery may be required.
  • Hormone Treatments and Medications ~ In some cases, medication may be prescribed for hormonal imbalances that may be contributing to male infertility.  Hormone replacement is recommended when there is an indication that infertility is being caused by high or low levels of particular hormones or the way the body is using the hormones.
  • Assistive Reproductive Technology (ART) is also a treatment option when the cause of male infertility is unknown or not treatable.  Sperm is gathered through ejaculation, surgery or donors and then inserted directly into the female partner or through in vitro fertilization or intracytoplasmic sperm injection.

As with any medical treatment, before deciding how to treat your male infertility you should discuss your option with your doctor and an infertility expert.  They will be able to let you know the pros and cons of treatments, the risks involved and the side effects you may experience.

 

 

 

 

 

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