More than 90% of male infertility cases are due to low sperm counts, poor sperm quality, or both. The remaining cases of male infertility can be caused by a range of conditions including anatomical problems, hormonal imbalances, and genetic defects. For about one in five infertile couples the problem lies solely in the male partner.
Sperm abnormalities are
- Semen volume
- Total sperm number
- Sperm concentration
- Vitality (percent alive)
- Movement (motility)
Many men with low semen analysis values can still father children — it just might take longer.
Causes for male infertility include:
- A pre-existing genetic condition
- Use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs
- Severe mumps infection after puberty
- Hernia repairs
- Hormone disorders
- Exposure to poisonous chemicals or radiation
- Blockage caused from a previous infection
- Wearing restrictive or tight underwear
- Injury to the groin area
- Aging, which can reduce sperm counts and mobility and decrease the genetic quality of sperm
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Using certain types of medication
Semen analysis is the most important part of male fertility testing.
In addition to a medical history and physical exam, specific tests for male infertility include:
- Semen analysis to evaluate the quantity and quality of sperm
- Blood tests to evaluate hormone levels
- Making a culture of fluid from the penis to check for infections
- Imaging tests to look for structural problems
- Genetic testing to identify sperm DNA fragmentation, chromosomal defects, or genetic diseases
- Physical examination of the penis, scrotum and prostate
Treatment for male infertility should first address any underlying medical conditions that may be contributing to fertility problems. Medication treatment may be used to treat hormonal disorders. Surgery may be used to repair varicoceles and correct any obstructions in the reproductive tract.
If fertility issues remain unresolved, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is commonly used in combination with in vitro fertilization (IVF) to achieve pregnancy when male infertility is a factor. ICSI involves injecting a single sperm into an egg obtained through IVF. The fertilized egg is then implanted back into the woman. Pregnancy success rates depend on many different factors.
If tests show that there is no sperm production or that other related problems are present, donor sperm can be used to help facilitate conception. In this procedure, donor sperm are obtained from a sperm bank and placed inside the female’s uterus or fallopian tubes through artificial insemination.
If you are trying to get pregnant and looking for resources to support your efforts, we invite you to have a free consultation with Dr Anastasios Sykoutris in order to discuss your specific needs, respond to your questions and give you the best advice according your medical history.