Male infertility

Description of Male infertility


Male infertility is an inability of the male to cause pregnancy in a fertile female even after unprotected intercourse. It usually occurs because of sperm that are abnormal, or inadequate in number, or problems with ejaculation.

Causes and Risk factor
A) Genetic causes of male infertility
Chromosome defects: Inherited disorders such as Klinefelter's syndrome in which a male is born with two X chromosomes and one Y chromosome (instead of one X and one Y) leads to abnormal development of the male reproductive organs.
B) Medical causes of male infertility
Varicocele: Swelling of the veins that drains the testes
Infection: Some infections can hinder sperm production or sperm health or can cause scarring that blocks the passage of sperm.
Antibodies that attack sperm: In some men, the body itself produces antibodies that mistakenly identify sperm as harmful invaders and attempt to eliminate them.
Tumors: Nonmalignant tumours and cancer can affect the male reproductive organs directly, through the glands that release hormones related to reproduction
Ejaculation issues: Retrograde ejaculation occurs when semen travels back to the bladder during orgasm instead of emerging out the tip of the penis.
Hormone imbalances: Infertility can result from disorders of the testicles or an abnormality of hormonal systems such as the hypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid and adrenal glands.

C) Environmental causes of male infertility
Industrial chemicals: Prolong exposure to harmful chemicals, pesticides, organic solvents, paints may lead to low sperm counts.
Heavy metal exposure: Exposure to lead or other heavy metals also may cause infertility.
Radiation or X-rays: Exposure to moderate radiation can reduce sperm production. However, with high doses of radiation, sperm production can be permanently reduced.
Subjecting to high temperature: Frequent use of saunas or hot tubs may temporarily impair your sperm count.

D) Health, lifestyle and other causes of male infertility
Tobacco consumption: People who smoke as well as those who are passive smokers are at a higher risk of male infertility.
Illicit drug use: Use of cocaine or marijuana may temporarily reduce the number and quality of your sperm as well.
Excess alcohol consumption: Drinking excess alcohol can lower testosterone levels, cause erectile dysfunction and decrease sperm production.
Emotional stress: Mental stress can interfere with certain hormones needed to produce sperm.
Weight: Obesity impairs fertility by causing hormonal disturbances

Signs and Symptoms of Male Infertility

1) Having lower than normal sperm count
2) Difficulty with ejaculation reduced sexual desire or difficulty in maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction).
3) Pain, swelling or a lump in the testicles.
4) Abnormal breast growth (gynecomastia)
5) Decreased facial or body hair
6) Small and firm testes

Complications associated with male infertility

Mental stress: Male infertility can lead to low self-confidence in men which might lead to extreme mental and psychological stress. Relationship problems: The inability to have a child might also lead to relationship difficulties and eventually to depression.

Tests and diagnosis

1) Scrotal ultrasound: This test uses high-frequency sound waves which helps your doctor see if there is a varicocele or any other problems in the testicles.
2) Hormone testing: A blood test measuring the level of testosterone and other hormones as abnormalities in hormonal or organ systems might also contribute to infertility.
3) Genetic tests: A blood test can reveal whether there are subtle changes in the Y chromosome — signs of a genetic abnormality which is also a cause for low sperm concentration.
4) Transrectal ultrasound: This procedure allows your doctor to check your prostate, and look for blockages in the tubes that carry semen (ejaculatory ducts and seminal vesicles).

Treatments for male infertility

1) Surgery: Vasectomy reversal is often performed as an outpatient procedure which is done to restore the male’s ability to release sperm from the testicles into the semen.
2) Treatments for sexual intercourse problems: Medication or counselling can help improve fertility in conditions such as premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction.
3) Hormone treatments and medications: You may need to undergo hormone replacement or medications in cases where infertility is caused by high or low levels of certain hormones or problems with the way the body uses hormones.
4) Assisted reproductive technology (ART): ART treatments involve using the sperms obtained either by normal ejaculation, surgical extraction or from the donor individual. The sperms are then inserted into the female genital tract or used to perform in-vitro fertilization.
Content Details
Last updated on:
08 Jan 2018 | 03:53 PM (IST)
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Frequently Asked Questions about Male infertility

Infertility is a widespread problem. It affects an estimated 15% of couples globally, amounting to 48.5 million couples. It has been found that males contribute to 50% of infertility cases among couples.
Marijuana, cocaine, tobacco, and more than two alcoholic drinks a day harm sperm production. Avoid hot baths and whirlpools because the high temperatures slow down your sperm production. Taking testosterone, or any over-the-counter androgen like DHEA (for weight training), can harm fertility. Indulge in exercises and maintain a balanced a nutritious diet. Always consult a qualified medical practitioner before consuming steroids for bodybuilding.
Your kitchen is also a great source of remedies for various illness. Follow some of the given simple tips in order to improve male fertility issues: Pumpkin seeds: A concoction prepared with a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds in a pint of boiling water, when consumed on a regular basis, makes an effective remedy. Garlic: Chewing 4-5 cloves in raw form or swallowing down with water, strengthens the male reproductive system and is helpful in treating male infertility. Ladyfinger: Consuming a concoction of 5-10 grams of ladyfinger root powder diluted in a cup of cow milk. Onion: Consume raw white onion, mixed in salads.
As men age, they may experience complications in fertility as a result of problems with libido (sexual drive) and/or erectile dysfunction. Older a man is, the longer it takes him to conceive a child because of chronic health conditions (like diabetes and high blood pressure). Also, with age quality of sperm decreases. In addition, a man's age can impact the rate of successful, healthy pregnancies, as well as the fertilization rate.
Traditionally "fertility in men has been tied to virility" and many men struggle with low self-esteem and guilt with infertility.
1) Practice yoga and meditation, 2) Consider going to counselling and, 3) Express yourself to your friends and family.