Male infertility is defined by a male’s inability to cause pregnancy in a fertile female. Out of the 15% of couples that have trouble getting pregnant, male infertility accounts for about 40–50% of infertility and affects approximately 7% of all men. Male infertility is commonly due to deficiencies in the semen, such as low sperm production, abnormal sperm function or blockages that prevent the delivery of sperm.
Even though this article focuses on “what is male infertility,” it is important for both you and your partner to undergo testing. By doing so, we save time and identify right away the root cause of the fertility problems. Then, we can then address the issue(s) and move you closer to your dreams of parenthood.
Causes & Symptoms of Male Infertility
Sometimes the only obvious symptom of male infertility is the inability to conceive a child with a woman who has under gone a fertility checkup to determine everything is working properly on her end. The rule of thumb for infertility is the inability to conceive a child after 1 year if the woman is under 35 years of age and after 6 months if the woman is over 35 years of age.
But there are a number of reasons why a man might experience fertility problems. Male infertility may result from an injury, an inherited or chronic health condition, or lifestyle choices. If the cause of infertility is related to an underlying medical problem these conditions may cause additional signs and symptoms like:
- Problems with sexual function (such as difficulty with ejaculation, reduced sexual desire, or difficulty maintaining an erection)
- Pain, swelling, or a lump in the testicle area
- Recurrent respiratory infections
- Inability to smell
- Abnormal breast growth (gynecomastia)
- Decreased facial or body hair (or other signs of a chromosomal or hormonal abnormality)
You can learn more about causes and risk factors in our article What Causes Infertility in Men.
Lifestyle Changes Can Help
While some types of male infertility aren’t preventable, others can be treated with lifestyle changes. Optimizing your health and avoiding things thought to be associated with or known to cause male infertility can increase your chances of conception. For example:
- No cigarette, e-cigarette, and marijuana smoking (see Can Smoking Really Affect My Chances of Getting Pregnant for more information)
- Limit alcohol
- No illicit drugs
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Avoid prolonged heat exposure to testicles
- Avoid exposure to pesticides and other toxins
- Reduce stress
- Discuss any testosterone supplement use with your physician or fertility specialist as testosterone treatment can cause a decrease in sperm production
Now for some good news. Unlike a woman who is born with all the eggs she will ever produce, a man makes sperm throughout most of his life. Usually it takes 2.5 to 3 months for new sperm to fully mature and be capable of fertilizing an egg. Therefore, any positive lifestyle changes made today will have a positive effect on ejaculated sperm within 3 months.
When Should I See a Specialist?
Couples may be disappointed when they aren’t pregnant after a few months of trying, but they shouldn’t be. It takes the average couple at least six months to become pregnant. If you haven’t conceived within one year, a fertility consultation for you and your partner is warranted. If you are experiencing any of the signs or symptoms listed above, seek a consultation immediately, regardless of time trying to conceive.
What to Do If You Think Something is Wrong
In most cases, there is no obvious sign that a man is infertile without testing. Not being able to conceive a child can be stressful and frustrating. That’s where the experts at Vios come in. A simple semen analysis test can give us a good indication of what is going on, and what treatment options would be best for you and your partner.
Conception is Our Life. Vios Cares About Making Your Dreams of Parenthood Come True
Vios Fertility Institute’s experienced doctors and compassionate team focus on your care from day one to help you along your unique fertility journey. Our team approach is to educate and bring awareness to your fertility health while helping you navigate the journey and make your dreams of parenthood a reality.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment and take control of your fertility health.