Male Factor Infertility
Approximately 15-20% of couples have difficulty initiating a pregnancy. These numbers are increasing as couples defer parenthood until later in life. While much emphasis is placed on the evaluation and treatment of the female partner, male factors impact fertility in 50% of infertile couples.
- Prolonged use of marijuana, or other recreational drugs and chronic alcohol abuse
- Anabolic steroid use
- Overly intense exercise
- Inadequate vitamin C and Zinc in the diet
- Tight underwear
- Exposure to toxins such as pesticides, lead, paint, radiation, mercury, benzene, boron, and heavy metals
- Malnutrition and anemia
- Excessive stress
- Varicocele – an enlargement of the spermatic veins, varicoceles are present in 40% of infertile men
- Damaged sperm ducts
- Torsion – The supportive tissue twists inside the scrotum.
- Infection and Disease – Mumps, TB, brucellosis, gonorrhea, typhoid, and syphilis
- Kleinfelter’s Syndrome – A genetic condition in which men have an extra X chromosome
- Retrograde Ejaculation – Semen is ejaculated into the bladder rather than through the urethra because the bladder sphincter does not close during ejaculation
Hope for Infertile Couples
Early evaluation of the man allows timely treatment and limits the necessity for expensive testing of his partner. This also permits any serious underlying disorders to be detected and treated appropriately. Treatments focus on improving the quality of sperm and may be as easy as avoiding certain environmental exposures or optimizing the timing of intercourse.
Most subfertile men can be helped after proper evaluation with a male infertility specialist. Even men with no sperm in the ejaculate can often initiate a pregnancy.
Why Do You Need a Fertility Specialist?
While most urologists receive some instruction concerning the evaluation of subfertile men, the vast majority of urology training programs do not emphasize infertility in their curriculum. In addition, the micro-surgical skills necessary to treat many urological conditions associated with infertility require intensive and meticulous training. For this reason, several male infertility fellowships have been established around the country. Candidates who are accepted into these programs receive an additional year or two of specific training in the evaluation and treatment of subfertile men. Our specialists have had comprehensive training in male infertility and microsurgery.