Infertility is defined as a couples’ inability to become pregnant after a year of regular and unprotected sex. According to reports, an estimated 15% of couples in North America and Europe are grappling with infertility.
What is male infertility?
Many couples that have long hoped to become parents often find themselves struggling to reproduce. Infertility is the main reason they have been unable to have children.
For decades, Indian society has held women accountable for fertility problems. But today, statistics show us that men too are equally responsible for it. Studies have shown that men are the cause ofone-third ofinfertility cases. Infertility in men is defined as the inability of a man to get a fertile female pregnant after having frequent and unprotected intercourse for a year.
At some point in life, all men may be forced to assess their ability to reproduce. But today, even younger men find themselves grappling with these questions. The stress of work pressure and maintaining a certain lifestyle is taking its toll on men and causing several health issues. Infertility is one of them.
There are various other causes that may lead to infertility in men including low testosterone and obesity, to name a few.
What causes male infertility?
Low sperm count is regarded as one of the foremost causes of male infertility. However, low sperm count only affects 1% of all men and 10 to 15% of infertile men.
These are the various other causes of male infertility:
1. Physical reasons:
• Ageing: As men age, achieving pleasure in sexual intercourse becomes difficult, and at times, painful. Which is why age can be a cause of infertility.
• Obesity overweight men can have poor sperm quality as compared to men of healthy weight. Being overweight or obese can also cause hormonal changes that reduce fertility and make men less interested in sex. Men who are very overweight are also more likely to have problems getting an erection.
• Variocoele: it is an abnormal enlargement of the spermatic veins that carry blood from testicles to the abdomen. This abnormal enlargement produces a one way valve in the veins that causes the back flow of blood from abdomen to scrotum as a result of which an unreceptive environment for the sperms is created. This reduces the sperm count, disturbs the sperm morphology and finally leads to infertility.
Also Read: How to tackle infertility
2. Psychological problems: Stress can cause infertility. Many men take on a lot of work and other responsibilities to fulfill dreams for their family, which may create undue pressure for them and affect their sexual performance.
3. Hormonal problems Low levels of testosterone, a hormone produced by the testicles, can also be a cause of infertility.
4. Injury or work environment Testicular injury can cause infertility in men. Also, exposure to high temperature, hazardous chemicals or radiation may also impact testosterone production ability.
Diagnosing infertility in men
Treatment of infertility is a significant challenge. To treat infertility in men, it is important to first diagnose its cause. Here are various methods of diagnosis that a health care professional can use to determine the exact condition:
• Physical examination and medical historyThis is the first step in determiningfertilitystatus. The physician may examine your genitals and question you about inherited conditions, health problems, injuries, surgeries and illnesses that may affect fertility.
• Semen analysis A semen analysis testis also done to determine infertility in men. Ejaculated semen is collected in a special container and the sperm is examined for abnormalities in shape (morphology) and movement (motility).If the doctor finds your sperm quality normal, he/she may recommend your partner be tested before asking you to undergo any more infertility tests.
• Testicular biopsy Using a needle, your doctor will perform a testicular biopsy. The results of the test can tell if sperm production is normal or not.
Treatment for male infertility
There are numerous ways in which infertility in men can be treated. These include:
• Eating healthy Try to add plenty of fruits and vegetables to your diet, as these are rich in antioxidants and may help improve sperm health.
• Watch your weight Shedding the pounds will help improve sperm count and movement.
• Treating infections: various antibiotics are available to treat infections but these medications does not always re-establish fertility.
• Yoga and meditation To treat infertility in men, doctors recommend meditation and yoga as both are good for mental relaxation.
• Frequency of intercourse Couples are advised to increase the frequency of sexual intercourse as it may improve their chances of conceiving.
• Surgery Procedures that unblock tubes that have been damaged due to infections ,tract blockages and varicocele can also reverse infertility in men.
• In-Vitro FertilizationIVF is an effective but expensive treatment for conceiving an egg that is fertilized by sperm outside a woman’s body. If men want this treatment to work effectively for them, they have to quit smoking.
While infertility is a major setback for couples, advancements in medical science offer renewed hope. So schedule an appointment with a fertility specialist and tackle your infertility problem head-on.