Male infertility isn’t unusual. In one-third of cases, a man has complications that are making it difficult for a couple to get pregnant. In general, a couple’s infertility is diagnosed when pregnancy hasn’t been achieved after at least one year of trying.
At the California Center for Reproductive Health, we look at all potential causes of infertility in couples. When we diagnose the problem, we can take steps to help you and your partner have a baby.
Men’s fertility basics
First of all, it’s important to recognize that infertility is relatively common. In every 100 couples, 12-13 of them will have trouble getting pregnant. In general, one-third of these instances has to do with issues involving the woman, one-third has to do with the man, and the last third has to do with a combination of problems or undetermined problems.
To successfully conceive a baby, a man’s sperm must fertilize the woman’s egg. This may sound simple, but it’s a complex biological process. Men’s sperm are made in the testicles and then stored inside the epididymis, an area that lies on top of each testicle. Semen nourishes and lubricates these sperm.
When intercourse happens, the man releases, on average, about 150 million sperm in one-half a teaspoon of semen through the penis.
The production of sperm and semen and the process of ejaculation occurs when the man has proper levels of testosterone and other hormones. His nervous system must also be signaling properly to make the whole system flow seamlessly.
Causes of infertility in men
Many issues can contribute to male infertility. A man may have problems with his testicles, a blockage in the ducts that carry sperm to the penis, a hormone imbalance, or a genetic disorder. Lifestyle and environmental factors can also contribute to male infertility as can a history of high fevers or mumps.
Erectile dysfunction, when a man can’t keep or get an erection, can interfere with a man’s ability to release sperm into a woman’s vagina, which can make conception difficult. A man can also have problems with his sperm’s quality or volume. Some sperm may not move as they should and therefore have trouble traveling to fertilize an egg.
Many of these issues can be overcome with the right changes and therapies.
Testing to evaluate male fertility
First, we may give you a medical exam, which may include blood tests and a physical exam. We may also go over your medical history. Furthermore, we may perform a semen analysis to examine the number, shape, health, and movement of your sperm.
Treating male infertility
In many cases, lifestyle changes can help improve a man’s fertility. Reducing stress, keeping the testes at a cool temperature, and eating a healthy diet can all help a man produce optimal sperm.
Restoring hormones, as well as taking medications to address various issues, such as erectile dysfunction, can also help. Your provider may recommend sperm extraction and insemination to increase the chances of conception. In some cases, surgery, such as to clear blocked ducts, may be necessary.
If you and your partner are unable to conceive, we can find out why and help you fulfill your goal of having a child. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with the California Center for Reproductive Health today.