Male infertility refers to a male’s incapability to cause pregnancy in a fertile female. In humans, it accounts for 40-50% of infertility. It affects approximately 7% of all men. Male infertility is commonly due to deficiencies in the semen, and semen quality is used as a proxy measure of male productiveness.
What is male infertility?
Reproduction (or making a baby) is a simple and natural experience for most couples. However, for some couples, it is very difficult to conceive a baby.A man’s fertility generally depends on the quantity and quality of his sperm. If the number of sperm a man ejaculates is low or if the sperm is of a poor quality, it will be difficult, and sometimes impossible, for him to cause a pregnancy. Male infertility is diagnosed when, after testing both partners, reproductive problems have been found in the male.
How common is male infertility?
Infertility is a widespread problem for about one in five infertile couples and the problem lies solely in the male partner. It is estimated that one in 20 men has some kind of fertility problem with low numbers of sperm in his ejaculate. However, only about one in every 100 men has no sperm in his ejaculate.
Symptoms of male infertility
In most cases, there are no obvious signs of infertility. Intercourse, erections, and ejaculation will usually happen without difficulty. The quantity and appearance of the ejaculated semen generally appear normal to the naked eye. Medical tests are needed to find out if a man is infertile.
What is the cause of male infertility?
Male infertility is usually caused by problems that affect either from sperm production or sperm transport. Through medical testing, the doctor may be able to find the cause of the problem. About two-thirds of infertile men have a problem with making sperm in the testes. Either low numbers of sperm are made and/or the sperm that are made do not work properly. Sperm transport problems are found in about one in every five infertile men, including men who have had a vasectomy but now wish to have more children. Blockages (often referred to as obstructions) in the tubes leading sperm away from the testes to the penis can cause a complete lack of sperm in the ejaculated semen. Other less common causes of infertility include: sexual problems that affect whether semen is able to enter the woman’s vagina for fertilization to take place (one in 100 infertile couples); low levels of hormones made by the pituitary gland that act on the testes (one in 100 infertile men); and sperm antibodies (found in one in 16 infertile men). In most men, sperm antibodies will not affect the chance of pregnancy but in some men sperm, antibodies reduce fertility.
General Causes of male infertility
|Sperm production problems||• Chromosomal or genetic causes
• Undescended testes (failure of
the testes to descend at birth)
• Torsion (twisting of the testis in scrotum)
• Varicocele (varicose veins of the testes)
• Medicines and chemicals
• Radiation damage
• Unknown cause
|Blockage of sperm transportation||• Infections
• Prostate-related problems
• Absence of vas deferens
(erection and ejaculation)
|• Retrograde and premature ejaculation
• Failure of ejaculation
• Erectile dysfunction
• Infrequent intercourse
• Spinal cord injury
• Prostate surgery
• Damage to nerves
• Some medicines
|Hormonal problems||• Pituitary tumors
• Congenital lack of LH/FSH (pituitary problem from birth)
• Anabolic (androgenic) steroid abuse
|Sperm antibodies||• Vasectomy
• Injury or infection in the epididymis
• Unknown cause
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