Most people are unaware that nearly half of all cases of infertility stem from infertility in men. While it’s more common to hear about women suffering from issues surrounding infertility – after all, they are the ones who cannot become pregnant – the problem sometimes lies within her male partner. When a healthy woman younger than 35 cannot become pregnant after trying to conceive for a full year, her doctor will order infertility tests; six months for older women. However, you might be surprised to find out that the issue with infertility does not stem from her body.
What is Infertility in Men?
Infertility in men is not an embarrassment. Many men find that they are too embarrassed to get checked for infertility problems, they are not willing to admit that the issue could be their fault, or they feel like less of a man when they realize they are unable to get their female partner’s pregnant. However, it’s not an embarrassment. Like any other medical issue, male infertility is a medical condition that cannot always be controlled by the man in question.
Male infertility can be any number of things. It can be a result of an illness, a disease, an accident, or even low sperm count. Oftentimes, men are not checked for infertility issues until their female partners are tested and determined healthy and able to conceive.
What Causes Male Infertility?
Men who suffer from sexually transmitted diseases are at risk for infertility issues. For the most part, these issues can be handled relatively easily through diagnosis and medication prescribed by a doctor. Some men suffer from a birth defect that causes a blockage that does not allow sperm to exit the body inside of a man’s semen. Diabetes can cause something called retrograde ejaculation, which means that semen does not exit the body during intercourse. Instead, it goes into a man’s urine. Enlarged varicose veins in the scrotrum can also cause infertility issues in men.
Sexual problems that are related to outside factors can also cause infertility. Fortunately, these infertility issues are typically treated with ease. Erectile dysfunction is one cause of infertility. Premature ejaculation is another cause. Both can be caused by outside factors, such as too much stress, too much anxiety, and a lack of self-confidence. In this case, men can cure their infertility problems by eliminating stress, boosting their confidence, and visiting with a therapist. Physical problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, cholesterol problems, certain cancers, and even radiation and chemotherapy used to treat certain cancers can cause a man to suffer from infertility issues. Obesity and being even just a little bit overweight can also cause a man to suffer from infertility.
How is Male Infertility Treated?
The way that doctors treat male infertility differs from man to man. Since all infertility issues in men are different, doctors might treat each men differently. Say your husband suffers from low sperm count. He cannot get you pregnant because he simply does not produce enough sperm. His doctor might encourage him to abstain from intercourse and ejaculation for several weeks until you are ovulating so that he can build up his sperm count to get you pregnant. If your husband has slow swimmers, doctors might suggest you use artificial insemination. This means your doctor will use some of your male partner’s sperm after he provides it for the doctor to insert into your body in hopes that you will become pregnant. Other alternatives include IVF, which is the process of fertilizing your eggs with his sperm in a test tube before implanting the fertilized egg into your body.
Some cases of male infertility can be treated with a simple lifestyle change. Men who suffer from obesity will be encouraged to eat a healthy diet and get plenty of exercise. The healthier he is, the better his chance of overcoming male infertility. Men who smoke or drink or use drugs will be encouraged to quit. Regardless whether or not a man is infertile, making these lifestyle changes prior to having a baby is a good idea.
Male infertility is a lot more common than you might think. To increase your chances of getting pregnant faster, having your male partner tested for infertility at the same time you are being tested for infertility is a good idea. Additionally, if you know your partner suffers from an STD or a childhood illness, getting him tested before you start trying can save you a lot of time and heartache.