Male infertility is one of the many male health problems we diagnose and treat at Alliance Urology Specialists. There are various causes that lead to problems with fertility in both women and men, making it a common occurrence among heterosexual couples. Up to 15% of couples experience infertility, with one-third of the causes of infertility associated with female factors, another third related to male factors, and the final one-third of infertility is caused by a combination of male and female factors. In order to gather useful information in one place, we’re devoting a blog to your top questions about male infertility.
The Factors of Male Infertility
Male infertility is defined as any medical issue that decreases the chance of their female partner becoming pregnant. The timeline associated with infertility is one year of having regular, unprotected sex. The four primary factors of male infertility include:
- Problems with sperm production
- Problems with sperm delivery
- Lifestyle factors
- Problems with sexual function
Out of these male infertility factors, problems producing healthy sperm are the most common treatable, reversible cause. Some examples of medical conditions that may affect sperm production include varicoceles, infections, hormone imbalances, and more.
The Basics of Sperm Function
Fertilization requires healthy eggs and healthy sperm. Several components make for healthy sperm, such as:
- Semen volume: Semen is the fluid expelled during ejaculation. Semen is mostly comprised of fluid from the prostate and seminal vesicles, and only about 5% of semen is sperm. The higher volume of semen, the higher the amount of sperm.
- Sperm concentration: Even though semen only contains a small amount of sperm, some men have a lower sperm concentration than others, meaning that there’s a lower number of sperm per millimeter of semen.
- Sperm motility: The motility of sperm is the efficiency with which the sperm can move through the female reproductive tract. A semen analysis can examine the percentage of motile sperm. The normal percentage of motile sperm should be 40% or higher.
- Sperm morphology: Morphology refers to the shape and size of the sperm. Malformed sperm can lead to infertility problems.
When Should I Get Tested?
While infertility is typically diagnosed after a year of having regular unprotected sex, men with known risk factors should typically get tested at the six-month mark.
Tips for Maintaining Sperm Quality
If you’re not quite ready for babies but want to keep your sperm in good shape, living a healthy lifestyle is the best way to ensure sperm quality. This includes getting enough sleep, staying active, and avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol use, and most importantly maintaining a healthy body weight.
Your treatment plan will depend on the individual cause. Medication can help with sexual dysfunction issues, including ED or premature ejaculation, while surgery can correct structural abnormalities or other ejaculatory disorders. In other cases, assisted reproductive technology can work in conjunction with intrauterine insemination or in vitro fertilization, or if your infertility is caused by hormone imbalances, medications may be able to help.
Make an Appointment
Alliance Urology Specialists is home to an expert team of urologists committed to providing comprehensive care to adults with urologic disorders and other men’s health issues. If you are experiencing the symptoms of male infertility, call our office at (336) 274-1114 to make an appointment.