Infertility is one of the taboos of society that can be challenging and frustrating for couples who are giving their all just to conceive. Couples feel helpless and isolated when they learn that they have a low to nil chance of conceiving. While this is not necessarily a disease, this disorder can cause the same amount of stress and hopelessness.
Male infertility is a disorder that can make men feel heavily burdened. However, knowing more about male infertility will strangle the misconceptions associated with the inability to conceive. By arming ourselves with what we should know about male infertility, we can assess the different options to make the right decision.
Infertility is the inability of a couple to conceive after trying for one year. Infertility for women is the inability to deliver a baby to full term.
One in six couples or 6.1 million people in the United States are affected by this condition. Although most people think that infertility in couples attributes more to women, in fact the probability of causes is the same for both men and women. Thirty percent of all cases are common to both male and female while ten percent of the causes come from unknown factors.
Defining Male Infertility
Male infertility, also termed as male factor infertility, is simply the man’s attribution or cause to a couple that has no ability to conceive. Male infertility is generally connected with hormonal disorders, obstruction in the reproductive system, sexual dysfunction, or recurring illness.
Male infertility is actually the state of inability rather than a specific disease, although the definition is interchanged. Thus, diagnosing the disorder requires a holistic approach that should cover everything regarding a man’s health. Half of infertile men have irreversibly infertility conditions, which restrict their ability to father children.
Causes of Male Infertility
The causes of male infertility can be categorized into two, which are congenital condition and acquired condition. Congenital male infertility means that the involved causes are present since birth while acquired male infertility is developed later in life, mostly due to illness that affect the male’s reproductive system.
Male infertility can also stem out from treatment of other diseases such as radiation treatment for cancers and medication for high blood pressure. Diseases such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis, and sexually transmitted diseases increase the risk of male infertility. Systemic diseases, which are diseases that render most of the body ineffective, also contribute to male infertility. Examples of these systemic diseases are high fever, infection, and kidney abnormalities.
Understanding the causes of male infertility requires a broader approach as these causes can be linked to other conditions that seem unrelated to the local condition of the male reproductive system. That is why fertility specialists are interested in a patient’s physical history to uncover the causes of male infertility.
Testosterone deficiency is a male condition that represents the declining production of testosterone. Testosterone is a male hormone that is responsible for the growth of the male reproductive system. Thus, the lack of testosterone can often result to male infertility due to the lack of sperm development and undergrowth of the male reproductive system.
Testosterone deficiency can also lead to insufficient muscle and bone development, lack of hair growth, lack of energy level, depression, and lack of sexual desire.
Diagnosing Male infertility
Fertility specialists have developed a number of diagnostic methods to find the causes of male infertility. Looking for the causes of infertility in a couple starts with the male as it is easier to look for inconsistencies in the male’s reproductive system than in a female’s reproductive system.
An investigation of family history is the first diagnostic method in detecting the causes of one’s infertility. The doctor will try to establish if the causes are congenital or acquired as they learn more about a patient’s family history. Then, a semen analysis follows where the male’s fluids is examined as the doctor looks for the concentration of sperm cells, sperm shape, the mobility of sperm, total number of moving sperm and the total volume of the semen. Fertility doctors factor in all observations to develop a result for semen analysis.
Advanced sperm tests measure the behavior of sperm cells in specific conditions. The sperm-mucus interaction test measures the ability of the sperm cell to swim through the cervical mucus. This gives doctors an idea if the sperm sample can swim through the female tract. The sperm penetration assay tests the sperms ability to break through the female egg by testing its strength against a hamster egg. Finally, the immunobead test looks for antibodies in the semen that can damage sperm cells.
Treating Male Infertility
Once the cause of male infertility is established, the doctor can now recommend a set of treatments to make conception between the couple possible. Each treatment addresses a certain cause. Unlike other conditions, male infertility can be solved with specific types of treatment.
Electro ejaculation is a treatment for men who lack the stimulus to produce an ejaculation. In this treatment, an electrical current stimulated the nerve so that erection and ejaculation can take place. Men with nerve damage can opt for this treatment.
If an obstruction between the testes and the urethra is present in such a way that a viable sperm count cannot be ejaculated, doctors pursue sperm retrieval. This surgical procedure involves incision of the scrotum and uses the outlet to gather the sperm cells from the testes. A needle injection is also used to extract the sperm cells. These sperm cells can be candidates for artificial insemination. Meanwhile, sperm washing is done to collect the healthiest class of sperm cells from a semen sample or after a sperm retrieval procedure. This process separates the sperm cells from the fatty acids and mucus to increase sperm motility. This will provide the best chance for conception to occur.
Sperm injection is a process used where an immobile sperm is directly injected to a mature egg. The egg is then incubated and transferred to the uterus. The matured egg can also be placed in the female’s fallopian tube so that the egg can be implanted naturally.
To improve sperm production and treat hormonal abnormalities, doctors will suggest drug therapy. These medications when taken in can cure infections in the sperm cells, defeat antibodies that attack sperm cells, reduce estrogen, and may be used to stimulate the release of male hormones.
Finally, surgery is used to treat male infertility by removing obstructions in the reproductive pathway that connects the testes and the vas deferens.
Home Sperm Count Tests
To conveniently screen male fertility, TestCountry offers the home based Fertility Sperm count Test. This sperm count test determines the concentration of sperm cells which will help your doctor assess your fertility conditions.
Sperm count is one of the simplest factors to predict a person’s ability to conceive. Simply put, the ability of a couple to conceive is dependent on the probability of a sperm to attach to an egg. Thus, the more sperm cells that surround the egg cell, the better chance there is to conceive. There is a critical level of sperm concentration to represent male fertility conditions. If a sperm concentration level is greater than 20 million per milliliter, then the sperm count is at a healthy level. However, this does not mean that the male is fertile since there are other reasons of male infertility.