What is Male Infertility?
If a male person has fewer chances to induce pregnancy in a fertile female then it is called Male Infertility. It may be due to abnormal sperm function, low sperm production, or the presence of any blockages that inhibit the delivery of sperm. In most cases, the cause of infertility can be reversible through various treatment options.
What are the causes of Male Infertility?
Infertility in males can be caused due to medical conditions and treatments. Some of them are:
- Hormonal imbalance
- Infections that interfere with sperm production
- Retrograde ejaculation
- Anti sperm antibodies
- Undescended testicles
- Defects in the tubules which transport sperm
- Cancer medications
- Prior surgery relate to male genital tract
What can be the environmental factors related to Male Infertility?
Overexposure to certain environmental factors can decrease sperm production or function. Few of the environmental factors are:
- Industrial chemicals - herbicides, benzenes, xylene, toluene, pesticides, painting materials, organic solvents
- Radiation or X-rays
- Heavy metal exposure - lead
- Overheating the testicles - working on a laptop for a long time can increase the temperature in the scrotum
What can be the signs related to Male Infertility?
The most common sign of infertility is the inability to conceive a child. Following are a few of the symptoms that can be related to Male Infertility:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Pain, swelling, a lump in the testicles
- Abnormal breast growth
- Decreased facial hair or body hair
How can Male Infertility be diagnosed?
Male Infertility can be diagnosed in many ways and few of them are:
- Medical history and physical examination
- Semen analysis
- Sperm function tests
- Testicular biopsy
- Testosterone evaluation
- Genetic tests
- Transrectal ultrasound
- Post ejaculation urinalysis
Can Assisted reproductive techniques (ART) treat infertility?
Yes, in some cases when there is no specific cause of infertility, assisted reproductive techniques can play a major role in treating infertility. Following are few of ART techniques:
- In vitro fertilization (IVF)
- Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
- Testicular sperm extraction (TESE)
- Sperm retrieval for ART
- Testicular fine needle aspiration (TFNA)
- Microsurgical epididymal sperm aspiration (MESA)
- Percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration (PESA)
Can obesity cause male infertility?
Yes, obesity in males can cause infertility. A few of the reasons are
- BMI is inversely proportional to the sperm count, higher the BMI lower the sperm count of an individual. Low sperm count can lead to miscarriage.
- Overweight can lead to hormonal imbalances which produce less amount of testosterone. In such conditions, men's testicles are less likely to produce sperms.
Can smoking cigarettes affect fertility?
Yes, many of the research studies show that smoking cigarettes alter sperm thereby affecting fertility in a man. Smoking can cause reduced sperm production and motility.