by Vladimire Herard
About one out of every seven couples deals with infertility, federal medical research shows.
This condition is defined as not being able to conceive a child as a couple despite having had sex for a year or more with no birth control and as with women with two or more pregnancies that ended.
In half of these cases, male infertility factors into the equation.
Root causes can include low sperm count, poor sperm function or blockages in its delivery. Disease, injury, chronic health issues and incompatible lifestyles can also play a role in male infertility.
For couples who wish to conceive and start a family, such an inability can be a setback. However, treatments for this condition abound.
Federal infertility research finds that, oftentimes, after one year of sex, about 15 percent of couples cannot have children and, within a few years, about 10 percent have failed pregnancies.
For healthy couples under age 30, about 20 to 37 percent can conceive a child within the first three months of sexual intercourse.
A variety of causes are responsible for infertility. On a case-by-case basis, individuals may have one cause, multiple ones or sometimes no discernible cause.
At least 33 percent of infertility cases are connected to men’s reproductive health, another third to women’s reproductive health and the remainder to medical issues faced by both genders.
About half of all male infertility cases cannot be attributed to an apparent cause. A lack of sperm takes place in 10 to 15 percent of men stricken with infertility.
Once discovered or identified, causes can include hormonal imbalances, respiratory infections, blockages in men’s reproductive organs, lumps, swelling and disabling veins on the testicles or a low sperm count or nonexisting sperm.
So also can being over the age of 35, celiac disease, environmental pollution, genetically-inherited illness, hormonal imbalances, previous surgeries, substance abuse, tumors and excess weight.
Signs and symptoms include the inability to smell and reduced facial or body hair.
As a result, internal medicine physicians and andrologists will counsel men seeking to conceive to commit to preventive measures to avoid infertility.
Prevention includes avoiding tobacco, restricting alcohol use, shunning drugs, staying physically fit, not having a vasectomy, not taking testosterone or androgens, reducing and managing stress and staying away from pesticides, metals and other poison.
Medical specialists resort to a number of solutions to treat male infertility. The solutions used depend on causes, symptoms and signs of a man’s inability to conceive.
In most cases, specialists turn to surgery to block veins that form on the testicles, medication or surgery to address hormonal imbalances and both solutions to undo sperm blockage.
In the past, if the above drugs and procedures did not work, men had no other medical recourse and were stuck with lifelong infertility.
However, advanced medicine has added the option of assisted reproductive techniques or technology, also known as ARTs, for men with low sperm counts. These procedures use technology to unite eggs with sperm to achieve conception.
In the meantime, specialists counsel couples that often persistence can help them ultimately conceive. They advise them to keep trying as sustained efforts have worked for other couples in the past.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Healthline publication online
- Mayo Clinic online – Men’s Health
- WebMd online
- Urology Health online