Infertility can be referred to as a reproductive system disease that impairs the body’s ability to perform the basic function of reproduction. The process of conceiving a child is quite complicated and depends on many factors which includes:
- Production of healthy sperm by the man
- Production of healthy eggs by the woman
- Unblocked fallopian tubes that allow the sperm to reach the egg
- The sperm’s ability to fertilize the egg
- The ability of the fertilized egg to become implanted in the uterus
- Adequate embryo quality
Who can be affected by infertility
Infertility is not just a woman thing, it can affect both the man and woman. For a normally fertile, healthy, young couple having regular, unprotected sex, The average chance to conceive is approximately 20 percent during each menstrual cycle. It takes some couples about 12 months to conceive.
Here are the risk factors related to male infertility
- History of prostatitis or genital infection
- Testicular trauma or torsion
- History of precocious puberty (puberty occurring at a young age) or delayed puberty (puberty occurring at an older age)
- Exposure to toxic substances or hazards on the job, such as lead, cadmium, mercury, ethylene oxide, vinyl chloride, radioactivity, and X-rays
- Cigarette or marijuana smoking
- Heavy alcohol consumption
- Exposure of the genitals to high temperatures
- Undescended testicles
- Prescription drugs for ulcers or psoriasis
Causes of Male Infertility
1) Sperm disorder: Any problem affecting sperm either in their production, maturation, or transportation stage can cause infertility in men.
It is possible for sperm to be immature, abnormally shaped, or unable to swim upward properly. Normally sperm can also be produced in very low numbers (Oligospermia) or may not be available in the semen at all (Azoospermia). This problem may be caused by the following
- Infectious diseases or inflammatory conditions, such as the mumps virus
- Endocrine or hormonal disorders, such as Kallmann syndrome (an absence of or decrease in the function of the male testes) or a pituitary problem
- Immunological disorders in which some men produce antibodies to their own sperm
- Environmental and lifestyle factors
- Genetic diseases
2) Anatomical abnormalities: There could be an obstruction in the genital tract which can block the flow of seminal fluid. It could be caused by a scar left by surgery, infection or inflammation of the urogenital tract, or Scrotal varicoceles
3) Immotile cilia syndrome: is a condition in which sperm count is normal but spermatozoa are non-motile
4) Liver disease, renal disease, or treatment for seizure disorders
Other factors may be due to defective delivery of sperm into the female genital tract, which could be caused by impotence or premature ejaculation.
How male factor infertility is diagnosed
Diagnostic testing for male infertility in addition to a complete medical history and physical examination include:
Semen Analysis: This involves the collection of semen examples to be examined for various factors such as semen volume, consistency, and pH, sperm count, motility, and morphology. This test should be performed at least twice on a separate day.
There are other tests that are performed to detect the cause of the sperm abnormalities or the problem with the reproductive system.