Are you and your partner willing to get pregnant but it just isn’t working out?
In that case, you might be concerned about whether you should or your partner needs to get checked out for a medical issue.
Infertility could be the inability to become pregnant after engaging in frequent unprotected intercourse for anywhere between 6 months to a year, depending on your age.
What Is Infertility?
It is the inability of a man or a woman to conceive as a result of an issue with their reproductive system.
Infertility could be divided into 2 types- primary and secondary. Primary infertility happens when a person is completely unable to conceive.
Secondary infertility deals with someone who has previously conceived but is now no longer able to.
What Is Male Infertility?
It is the inability of a male to conceive a child with a female. The causes of male infertility could vary widely.
Someone suffering from it, might not be producing sufficiently healthy sperm cells.
He couldalso suffer from an inherited condition like cystic fibrosis or his genital tract might be blocked.
Moreover, there could be many reasons for male infertility which include
- Abnormal sperm function or production brought on by undescended testicles, genetic flaws,
- Medical conditions like diabetes, infectious diseases like chlamydia, gonorrhea, measles, or, simply HIV.
- Varicocele which refers to enlarged veins in the testis could also contribute to lower sperm quality.
What Happens Under Usual Circumstances?
The male body produces sperm cells. Ejaculation is introduced when the sperm cell enters a woman’s body during intercourse.
The sperm is produced, transported, and stored by the male reproductive system. Your body’s hormone-producing chemicals are in charge of this.
The two testicles produce testosterone in the male sex hormone. The scrotum which is a part of skin beneath the penis contains a testicle.
Each testicle has a tube behind it from where the sperm couldexit the testicles. It is called “epididymis”.
The sperm exits the epididymis and then enters another set of tubes just before ejaculation. The names of these tubes are vas deferens.
Each vas deferens runs from the epididymis to the pelvis behind the bladder. Seminal vesicles and prostate fluid are all mixed when someone ejaculates.
This finally forms the semen, and sperm comes out from the penis through the urethra.
Male fertility is highly dependent on your body’s ability to produce and distribute healthy sperm.
The sperm enters the vagina of the female partner and then the sperm passes through the cervix uterus and fallopian tubes on their way to her.
Fertilization occurs there if sperm and an egg come into contact.
Causes Of Male Infertility
Many factors must be present for the sperm to be mature, healthy, and mobile. Certain issues could prevent sperm cells from developing.
The sperm encounter obstacles on the way to the egg and even the scrotum one’s could impact fertility and male infertility could be caused.
Some of the primary factors for sperm disruption include:
Disorders Of The Sperm
Problems with sperm mightresult from genetic characteristics. Changing your lifestyle may result in less sperm count.
Due to smoking, drinking alcohol, and using specific drugs, we may have low sperm counts.
Other factors that contribute to low sperm counts could include chronic illnesses comprising kidney failure, and chromosomal or hormonal issues such as low testosterone.
Reproductive system damage could also be the reason behind low or no sperm production.
A blockage in the tubes the sperm passes through is present in about 4 out of every 10 men who have azoospermia or absolute lack of sperm.
A blockage may result as a consequence of a congenital defect or another issue like an infection.
Retrograde ejaculation happens when the semen moves backward in the body. Instead of coming out of the penis, it goes back to the bladder.
During an orgasm, your bladder’s nerves and muscles fail to contract.
Although semen mayinclude normal sperm, it cannot reach the vagina, since it is not discharged from the penis.
Surgery, medicine, or nervous system health issues may lead to retrograde ejaculation. Murky urine, less fluid, or “dry” ejaculation are some of the symptoms.
About 1 to 5 couples who are of reproductive age are now affected by immune infertility, which refers to reproductive failure.
The female vaginal canal maybecome sensitized by semen, which is a complex fluid that contains sperm, cellular vesicles, and other components.
The body of a man could occasionally produce antibodies that target his sperm. Most typically injury operations are interactions that result in the production of antibodies.
Immunological infertility is observed when some special antibodies specifically bind themselves to seminal structures or proteins above sperm.
Anti-oocyte antibodies haven’t been seen as commonly as anti-sperm antibodies up until now.
Fertility maybe impacted by chromosomal changes in both quantity and shape. It is a fact that half of the DNA is carried by the sperm to the egg.
The delivery, generation, and function of sperm couldbe altered by certain drugs. These drugs are primarily prescribed to address conditions including:
- High blood pressure
- Anxiety or depression
- Digestive issues
Scrotal varicoceles are referred to enlarged veins. 16 out of every 100 males have them, and infertile guys are more likely to have them than ones who are not.
They prevent normal blood drainage, which hinders the development of sperm. Due to varicoceles, the blood mayflow back into the scrotum from your belly.
At that point, the testicles might get too heated to produce sperm. As a result, males could have low sperm counts.
How To Diagnose Male Infertility?
There are many ways to check for male infertility and the disease is particularly diagnosed in some of these ways.
By performing scrutiny on medical history and general physical examination
It starts by examining your genitalia and questioning any hereditary disorders, ongoing health issues, ailments, injuries, or operations that mayhave impacted your fertility.
Additionally, your doctor might enquire about your sexual behaviors and how those have been altered during your puberty.
By Analyzing Semen
There are several techniques for collecting samples of semen. It could be collected by ejaculating or masturbating in special containers in the doctor’s office.
In certain circumstances, semencould be obtained by using a unique condom during sexual activity.
Ultrasonography Of The Scrotum
High-frequency sound waves are used in this test to create images of your inside organs.
Your doctor mayuse a scrotal ultrasound to check for varicocele or other issues in the testicles and supporting tissues.
The pituitary gland, the brain, and the testicles all produce hormones that are vital for sperm production and sexual development.
Other factors include hormonal or system abnormalities that could potentially be a factor in infertility.
The quantity of testosterone and other hormones is determined by this hormone test.
Low sperm concentration could also have a hereditary reason.
If the Y chromosome has undergone modest modifications, a blood test could detect these changes as indicators of genetic anomaly.
For the diagnosis of different congenital or inherited syndromes, genetic testing maybe required.
For this test, samples are taken from the testicle, and the biopsy results reveal thatsperm production is normal.
Then a blockage or another issue with sperm transport is probably to blame for the difficulty.
It could also happen that someone is suffering from retrograde ejaculation, in other words, his sperm is moving backward in the bladder rather than out through the penis.
A post-ejaculation urinalysis could detect such issues with ease.
Specialized Tests For Sperm Function
The not-so-well appreciated tests couldbe used to determine the potential of a sperm’s survival after ejaculation.
How well, it could penetrate an egg, and whether there is any issue connecting to the egg. However, these tests are rarely utilized.
Use Of Assisted Reproduction Techniques (ART)
Depending on your unique situation and preferences, ART treatments may involve acquiring sperm by routine ejaculation, surgical extraction, or from donors.
After that, the sperm are either injected into the female vaginal tract, utilized for in-vitro fertilization, or used in intracytoplasmic sperm injection.
An organ can be imaged with ultrasound by using sound waves that are reflected from the organ. In the rectus, a probe is inserted.
The neighboring ejaculatory ducts receive sound waves from it. The medical professional can determine whether organs like the seminal vesicles or ejaculatory drugs.
Treatment Of Male Infertility
The common types of medical intervention for male infertility include:
A similar method is used to clear obstructions in your vas deferens. The blockage is surgically removed and the vas deferens are separated.
Retrieval Of Sperm
In some severe situations, sperm must be located through a testicular biopsy.
In vitro fertilization
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the preferred treatment for some couples coping with male infertility.
Injectable fertility drugs are used during IVF to stimulate the ovaries and encourage the maturation of many eggs.
The process of fertilization involves either directly inserting sperm into each mature egg which is known as intracytoplasmic sperm injection.
Three to five days after fertilization, the development of the embryo is checked.
And two to three of the embryos are then implanted into the uterus using a tiny catheter thatis introduced via the cervix.
The extreme concern may lead to devastating consequences. It’s not necessarily impossible to have a child of your own even if you struggle with infertility.
Much of the time, we have seen that male infertility could be treated with outpatient surgery.
Along with that, it is better to limit exposure to environmental toxins, intense activity, heat, certain medications, and excessive alcohol consumption.
Stress reduction along with taking certain antibiotic medications such as fertility drugs could be effective.
Herbal treatment could also aid in improving male fertility but, unfortunately not all herbs could be considered to be safe.
Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed research, academic, and medical institution studies.
- Infertility and Fertility Last Reviewed Date1/31/2017 Available from: https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/infertility
- How common is male infertility, and what are its causes? Last Reviewed Date11/18/2021 Available from: https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/menshealth/conditioninfo/infertility
- Purnima Gurung; Ekrem Yetiskul; Ishwarlal Jialal. Physiology, Male Reproductive System Last Update: May 8, 2022. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538429/
- Frank Tüttelmann,Christian Ruckert, and Albrecht Röpke Disorders of spermatogenesis Med Genet. 2018; 30(1): 12–20.Published online 2018 Feb 26. doi: 10.1007/s11825-018-0181-7
- Arie Parnham and Ege Can Serefoglu Retrograde ejaculation, painful ejaculation and hematospermia Transl Androl Urol. 2016 Aug; 5(4): 592–601.doi: 10.21037/tau.2016.06.05
- S Hassoun,M Drouet,J Le Sellin,et al. Immunological causes of male infertility Review Allerg Immunol (Paris). 1991 Apr;23(4):121-5. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2069684/
- Gary L Harton and Helen G Tempest Chromosomal disorders and male infertility Asian J Androl. 2012 Jan; 14(1): 32–39.Published online 2011 Nov 28. doi: 10.1038/aja.2011.66
- Paul R. Brezina,Fahd N. Yunus,and Yulian Zhao Effects of Pharmaceutical Medications on Male Fertility J Reprod Infertil. 2012 Jan-Mar; 13(1): 3–11.
- Stephen W. Leslie; Hussain Sajjad; Larry E. Siref. Varicocele Last Update: May 27, 2022. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK448113/
- Christopher L R Barratt,Lars Björndahl,Christopher J De Jonge,et al. The diagnosis of male infertility: an analysis of the evidence to support the development of global WHO guidance—challenges and future research opportunities Hum Reprod Update. 2017 Nov; 23(6): 660–680.Published online 2017 Jul 19. doi: 10.1093/humupd/dmx021
- S. S. Vasan Semen analysis and sperm function tests: How much to test? Indian J Urol. 2011 Jan-Mar; 27(1): 41–48.doi: 10.4103/0970-1591.78424
- Anna L. Kühn, Eduardo Scortegagna, Kristina M. Nowitzki,et al. Ultrasonography of the scrotum in adults Ultrasonography. 2016 Jul; 35(3): 180–197.Published online 2016 Feb 24. doi: 10.14366/usg.15075
- Daniel L. Pelzman and Kathleen Hwang Genetic testing for men with infertility: techniques and indications Transl Androl Urol. 2021 Mar; 10(3): 1354–1364.doi: 10.21037/tau-19-725
- Gert R Dohle, Saad Elzanaty, and Niels J van Casteren Testicular biopsy: clinical practice and interpretation Asian J Androl. 2012 Jan; 14(1): 88–93.Published online 2011 Dec 12. doi: 10.1038/aja.2011.57
- R Weissenberg, H Rozenman, M Hova,et al. The diagnostic value of sperm in post-ejaculatory urine Comparative Study Int J Androl. 1984 Apr;7(2):142-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2605.1984.tb00769.x. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/6724724/
- Ahmad Majzoub,Sandro C Esteves,Jaime Gosálvez,et al. Specialized sperm function tests in varicocele and the future of andrology laboratory Asian J Androl. 2016 Mar-Apr; 18(2): 205–212.Published online 2016 Jan 15. doi: 10.4103/1008-682X.172642
- Meaghan Jain; Manvinder Singh. Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Techniques Last Update: June 22, 2022. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK576409/
- T Ammar,P S Sidhu,and C J Wilkins Male infertility: the role of imaging in diagnosis and management Br J Radiol. 2012 Nov; 85(Spec Iss 1): S59–S68.doi: 10.1259/bjr/31818161
- What treatment options are available for male infertility? Last Reviewed Date11/18/2021 Available from: https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/menshealth/conditioninfo/treatments
- About the Author
- Latest Posts
Michael has been in the male wellness industry for 25+ years. Before joining Working For Health as a full-time male wellness journalist, he contributed to multiple online portals in the male wellness field. Before that, he has been an assistant to several sexologists.