There are many reasons why a man may have difficulty with fertility. Fortunately, once diagnosed, some of these causes may be treatable.

Many fertility issues are related with sperm disorders.

A major cause of fertility problems can be related to sperm disorder. Of the millions of sperm normally deposited into the vagina, only a few hundred will get close to the egg and have a chance to fertilize it. Many factors play a role in determining whether or not the sperm will succeed.

  • Sperm count (number of sperm).
  • Sperm motility (ability to move).
  • Forward progression (quality of movement).
  • Sperm size and shape.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases or other infections. Genital infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause infertility in men. The infertility can often be resolved by treating the infection.
  • Blockages, birth defects, or physical damage. In some cases, men are born with blockages in parts of the testicle or other abnormalities that prevent sperm from getting into the semen. Physical trauma to the testicles, prostate, and urethra (define) can also result in fertility problems. Surgery can sometimes correct the problem.
  • Retrograde ejaculation. In this condition, semen doesn’t come out of the penis during ejaculation but instead enters the bladder. It can be caused by diabetes, certain medications, and surgery to the bladder, prostate, or urethra.
  • Genetic diseases. Although it’s rare, genetic illnesses such as cystic fibrosis or chromosomal disorders can cause infertility.
  • Autoimmune problems. In some cases, the immune system can mistakenly target sperm cells and treat them as if they were a foreign virus. The sperm can become damaged as a result.
  • Hormonal problems. Certain hormonal imbalances — in the pituitary and thyroid glands, for instance — can cause infertility. Your doctor may suggest treatment with medication.
  • Sexual problems. Erectile dysfunction (impotence) and premature ejaculation can obviously have an effect on fertility. Erectile dysfunction can be caused by psychological problems such as anxiety, guilt, or low self-esteem. It is also caused by physical problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease. In addition, impotence may be a side effect of certain medications such as antidepressants. Talk to your doctor about ways of treating any sexual problems.
  • Varicoceles. Varicoceles are enlarged varicose veins that develop in the scrotum and prevent blood from flowing properly. Varicoceles are found in 15% of all men, but in up to 40% of men being evaluated for infertility. Although they may be a factor in male infertility, recent studies question whether surgery to correct varicoceles has any beneficial effect.

Occupational risks:

Exposure to toxic substances on the job, such as pesticides, radioactivity, x-rays, and electromagnetic, or microwave emissions may lead to sperm abnormalities. If you’ve been exposed or if you’re concerned about occupational hazards, talk to your healthcare provider.

Diseases, drug use, and medications:

Occasionally, the presence of diseases such as diabetes, central nervous system problems, and pituitary tumors may affect a man’s fertility. In addition, some drugs for heart disease and high blood pressure may also be risk factors.

Smoking, alcohol and drug use may also have a negative impact on man’s fertility.

Prolonged exposure to high heat from hot baths, steam rooms, or even tight underwear may lower sperm production.

Men’s Age as Important as Women in Fertility?

Many men are not aware that their age can affect their ability to become a father. Most men know that women’s fertility declines after the age of 35, but less known is the increasing evidence that the the older a man becomes, the more their fertility diminishes.

A women younger than 30 years old was 25% less likely to conceive a baby if her male partner was 40 years or older.

That a woman of 35 to 37 years was 50% less likely to conceive if the male partner was over 40 years old.

There is now a lot more evidence that the age of the man at conception affects women’s ability to become pregnant. Paternal age is now considered significant. Men have to listen to their biological clock too.

Possible causes of a low sperm count:

1 Infected semen can be a cause of infertility. Your doctor can test for this. It was previously thought that mumps could cause sterility in men but in fact it is now known to be extremely rare for mumps to lead to sterility.

2 Heat can reduce sperm production. This is why the testicles are outside the body in the scrotum rather than in the abdomen like the ovaries. Medical opinion is divided on how important the following are but we would suggest you take account of whether they might apply to you – Some men soak themselves in a bathtub full of scalding water, some obese (overweight) men can become sterile because the sagging layers of fat can overheat the testicles, some men whose jobs involve long hours of sitting may also have a reduced sperm count because of overheated testicles.

3 Very frequent intercourse can lead to a dramatic reduction in sperm count and cause the man to be effectively infertile. If you ejaculate as much as 2-3 times a day you are likely to have a problem. If you want to be at your most fertile you have to wait at least 3 days between each ejaculation!

4 Smoking over 20 cigarettes a day has been shown to reduce both the sperm count and the sperm motility. So stop smoking or reduce it to minimal levels!

5 Excessive alcohol intake can lead to low sperm counts for a variety of reasons.

6 The workaholic man can find that fatigue can have similar effects on his interest in intercourse as well as stimulate a desire for excessive alcohol intake.

Sources: Fertility Life Line, Web Md

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