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What is male infertility?

Having a baby is a natural experience. However, for some couples it can be difficult to conceive a child.

As a male, your chance of fathering a chid generally depend on the quantity and quality of your semen. If the number of sperm in the semen you ejaculate is low, or if the sperm is of a poor quality, it will be difficult, and in some cases impossible, to get pregnant.

If you’ve been trying to get pregnant without success for a period of 12 months, and you’ve been having intercourse at least twice a week, it’s worth visiting the infertility specialist. If you’re aware of factors that could have an impact on your chances of conceiving a baby, it’s a good idea to seek help earlier on. Both you and your partner should be tested for reproductive problems at the same time.

What are the symptoms of male infertility?

In most cases, there are no obvious symptom of male infertility. You may have sexual dysfunction, like problem with erections and ejaculation, but your semen may look normal to the naked eye. You’ll still need medical tests to help find out the cause of the infertility.

What are the cause of male infertility?

Around 15-20% of male infertility is because of Azoospermia, (absence of viable sperms in the semen).

Sometimes men are able to produce sperms in sufficient quantity but the quality is poor. This causes trouble in conception. For fertilization to take place, sperm must be able to reach the egg and then infiltrate its external layer. Sperms that don’t move well might be not able to do so.

Common cause of male infertility incudes:

  • Varicocele,. (it occurs in about 15 to 20% of infertile men.)
  • Obstructions in Male Reproductive Tract
  • Previous Vasectomy
  • Sexual Dysfunctions
  • Absenceof the Vas Deferens
  • Immunologic disorders
  • Endocrine (hormone) disorders
  • Infections like – Smallpox, Tuberculosis, Prostatitis, STDs etc.
  • Lifestyle – Age, Nutrition, Absence of standard exercise, Work Pressure, Cigarette Smoking, Drug and Alcohol Abuse, Exposure to some chemicals and radiations etc.

 How Is Male Infertility Diagnosed?

During any fertility check-up, it is necessary to investigate both partners. Your doctor will usually ask for your clinical history, conduct a physical examination and do a semen analysis is check the count, motility and morphology of sperm in the ejaculate semen and it should be done in an IVF laboratory as per WHO rule after an abstinence of 2-5 days.

If the semen report is abnormal. Your doctor might be advise you some additional test like:

  • Hormone testing
  • Ultrasound
  • MRI
  • Genetic tests
  • Testicular biopsy
  • Sperm Function Test (HOS test, Sperm DNA fragmentation, Sperm Vitality etc.)

What determines sperm quality? 

Sperm quality gives you a window into the overall health. It’s negatively affected by lifestyle factors like smoking and alcohol utilization, and improved by great eating routine, exercise and rest.

Semen analysis will measure three main factors:

Count/Concentration, of sperm in given ejaculated semen. More isn’t necessarily better, but less concentration is problematic. Concentration below 15 million per ml is considered low. (as per WHO criteria)

Motility, or a sperm’s ability to move, as calculated by the percentage of moving sperm in a semen specimen. The normal range is 40% or above

Morphology, or the size and shape of the sperm. Sperm should be a certain shape to be able to enter into an egg. 4% of your overall sperm count should be considered as normal morphology

 What are the treatments available for male infertility?

Often, an exact reason of infertility cannot be found. Even if an exact reason is not clear, your doctor could possibly suggest you some treatments or procedures that will help to achieve pregnancy

Treatments and Procedure for male infertility include:

  • For example, a varicocele can often be surgically corrected or an obstructed vas deferens repaired. Previous vasectomies can be turned around. In situations where no sperm are found in the ejaculated semen sample, sperm can be generally recovered directly from the testicles or epididymis using sperm retrieval techniques like TESA, TESE, M-TESE, PESA.
  • Treating infections.Antibiotic treatment may be fix an infection of the reproductive tract, but does not generally re-establish your fertility.
  • Treatments for sexual intercourse issues.Medication or counselling can help you to enhance your fertility in situation like erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation.
  • Hormone treatments and medications.Your clinician may suggest some hormone replacement or medications in situation where infertility is caused by high or low levels of specific hormones or issues with the manner in which the body utilizes hormones.
  • Assisted reproductive technology (ART).ART procedures involve collecting sperm through normal ejaculation, surgical process or from donor individuals, based on your particular case and wishes. The sperm are then inseminated into the female genital tract this procedure called Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI), or used to perform highly specialized procedure like: In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) or Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI).