Although infertility research and medical services have traditionally focused on women, fertility issues crop up just as often in men. In fact, it’s estimated that up to 40% of infertile couples are unable to conceive because the man’s sperm production is less than optimal.
The first and most obvious sign of male infertility is the inability for couples to get pregnant. There may be no other symptoms unless the infertility is caused by a hormonal problem, in which case reduced facial and body hair growth or low sex drive may be the tip off.
Male infertility may be due to:
- Genetic abnormalities
- Hormone deficiency or surplus
- Infections of the prostate, testes or epididymis (tubes that store and carry sperm)
- Older age
- Previous chemotherapy
- Previous scarring due to infection (including sexually transmitted diseases), trauma or surgery
- Radiation exposure
- Environmental pollutants
- Exposure to high heat for prolonged periods
- Retrograde ejaculation (dry orgasm)
- Heavy use of alcohol, marijuana or cocaine
- Use of certain prescription drugs
- Poor nutrition
- Being overweight or too thin
Causes of Male Infertility
Male infertility can also be caused by low sperm count (subfertility), reduced sperm movement (motility), or abnormally-shaped sperm (also known as abnormal sperm morphology.)
If indicated, men are referred for evaluation to a urologist who specializes in diagnosing and treating infertile men. This evaluation includes a medical history, physical examination, complete semen analysis and, if appropriate, sperm function tests.
Once we determine the most appropriate course of treatment for each couple, alternatives may include:
- medical or surgical procedures to increase sperm counts
- intrauterine inseminations with or without superovulation therapy
- in vitro fertilization (IVF) with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) or possibly the use of donated sperm
At Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut, we focus on establishing the correct diagnosis and using advanced treatment techniques to make it possible for many men who are diagnosed with male infertility to become fathers. Contact us for more information.