Male Infertility: What You Need to Know
When couples have been trying to conceive without success, the assumption is often that the cause is female infertility. But the fact is that one third of infertility cases are due solely to male factors. So what causes male infertility? And what can couples do to overcome it and build the family of their dreams? Here, the team at IVF Florida’s South Florida fertility centers discuss what you need to know about male infertility.
What Causes Male Infertility?
There are multiple potential causes of male infertility that can result in low sperm production, low sperm motility (failure of the sperm to move correctly), abnormal sperm function, or even issues with the male anatomy that prevent sperm delivery. Some of the most common causes of male infertility include:
- Varicocele – a dilation of the veins leading from the testicle which can cause overheating and negatively impact sperm quality/quantity
- Epididymial or Vas Deferens blockage which can prevent semen from being delivered into the uterus
- Chronic health problems such as diabetes and obesity, which can negatively impact sperm quality and quantity
- Illnesses like the flu or STIs, which can temporarily impact sperm health
- Lifestyle factors, such as smoking and high alcohol consumption
The first step towards determining the cause of male infertility is conducting a semen analysis. If an issue is discovered, conducting a thorough medical history and physical exam can help pinpoint the cause.
What Treatments Are Available?
There are a variety of treatments available for men who suffer from male infertility depending on the cause. Varicocele and blockages can often be resolved with a simple surgery. Those with illnesses and lifestyle factors impacting their sperm health can see improvement once the illness is resolved or a healthier lifestyle is adopted. For those with diabetes or who are obese, getting the conditions under control can help improve sperm quality and quantity.
If the semen analysis does not improve after surgery, lifestyle changes, or the resolution of illness, there are other options available. Some couples with male infertility may be able to conceive using IUI (Intrauterine Insemination), wherein a concentrated semen sample is injected directly into the woman’s uterus. For others, IVF using ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) can help them create embryos that can then be implanted into the woman’s uterus. For couples where the man has azoospermia, or a complete lack of sperm production, use of donor sperm can help them start a family.
Can Men Improve Their Sperm Health?
For men whose sperm production is impacted by illness or lifestyle, making small changes and seeking adequate treatment can help improve their sperm health. Minimizing alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, and living a healthy lifestyle can help improve sperm parameters in many men. Additionally, rooting out any illnesses that could be causing infertility and treating them can help a man’s sperm health bounce back.
Consulting a Specialist
The first step for any couple struggling with infertility is to consult an experienced infertility specialist. At IVF Florida´s South Florida fertility centers, we work closely with Urologists to help determine the cause of male infertility and find the simplest and most effective solution to help couples conceive naturally. If advanced reproductive technologies are needed, our fertility specialists will work closely with you to find the treatment plan that will give you the greatest chance of success.
If you have been struggling to conceive without success, contact the team of fertility doctors at IVF Florida today at 954-247-6200 to schedule a consultation.