When it comes to fertility issues, one of the factors that often arises is male factor infertility. This involves issues around healthy sperm that can’t reach or fertilize the egg. Male factor infertility can encompass problems with either the production of sperm or with the sperm reaching the egg. In fact, around 1/3 to 1/2 of infertility problems center around difficulties with the sperm, such as unhealthy sperm production and improper delivery of the sperm to the waiting egg.
Fertility Factors for Men
What can interfere with sperm production? Anything from drug, alcohol or tobacco use or the side effects of taking certain medication, high temperature of the scrotum, having autoimmune issues or a congenital condition, and diminished testosterone levels. Other factors include emotional stress, severe depression or obesity. The good news is that most of these are treatable.
Depending on the cause, often making changes in one’s lifestyle can help — avoiding hot baths and constricting apparel, taking medication to increase testosterone levels, and for autoimmune infertility, immunosuppressants or anticoagulants can be taken. Seeking help for depression and anxiety which can result in a lowered libido, erectile dysfunction, delayed or inhibited ejaculation – and losing weight can all improve the sperm quality and count.
For congenital issues, however, things are a little trickier. Sometimes surgery or medication is the answer, while other cases may be fixed using artificially removed sperm that is placed into the uterus or fertilization of the eggs through in vitro fertilization, or IVF.
For a couple experiencing issues with male factor infertility, a variety of tests can be done to help determine the cause.
Fertility Tests for Men
-Semen analysis – analyze the health and number of sperm in the ejaculate and results are typically provided in one day.
-Blood sample – assess hormone levels and check for any medical issues.
-Ultrasound – assess the condition of the urethra, vas deferens and blood vessels.
-Testicular biopsy – check for abnormalities in the tissue.
-Genetic testing– this can help determine any genetic causes of a low sperm count.
-Infectious disease panel– this screens for HIV, Hepatitis B and C, syphilis, human T-cell lymphotropic virus (HTLV) and cytomegalovirus (CMV).
Male anatomy involves the creation and storage of motile sperm (semen) and includes the testicles, the duct system (epididymis and the vas deferens), the accessory glands (seminal vesicles and prostate gland), and the penis. Once matured sperm reaches the epididymis, they reside there until ejaculation where they emerge from the urethra. When trying to conceive, the semen is transferred to the vagina where it travels to a woman’s cervix and uterus to find and fertilize a mature egg that is traveling through a fallopian tube.
There is help for fertility issues, and if you are currently seeking help for infertility, we welcome you to contact our experienced team in Idaho Falls, Idaho. We can be reached by calling 208-529-2019 and are happy to answer your questions or schedule a consultation for you with one of our highly skilled Reproductive Endocrinologists.