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Male Infertility: Get Tested, Get Treated

About 15 percent of couples struggle with infertility—meaning they haven't gotten pregnant after trying without protection for at least one year. This frustrating problem affects men and women equally. 

Finding the underlying cause of infertility can be found with the help of fertility specialists. Here are some potential causes of male infertility.

Causes of Male Infertility

Male fertility is a complex relationship between hormones, sperm production, and the ability of sperm to get to the egg and fertilize it.

Men struggling with infertility commonly suffer from:

  • Oligozoospermia: Fewer sperm than normal in the ejaculate.
  • Azoospermia: no sperm in the ejaculate.

Oligozoospermia and azoospermia causes can vary. Varicocele, varicose veins in the scrotum, can cause reduced sperm count. Another cause can be undescended testes. An undescended testicle stays up in the body and has a higher temperature, leading to lower sperm production, count, and quality.

A condition called hypothyroidism can also cause poor semen quality and count. Other possible causes include:

Genetic Disorders That Cause Male Infertility

Some genetic abnormalities can cause male infertility, as well, including:

Spinal cord injuries and pelvic trauma can also cause infertility issues, as they can affect the nerves that lead to erections and ejaculation.

Lifestyle Choices and Male Infertility

Lifestyle choices can also influence male fertility, including:

  • Tobacco use
  • Long-term narcotic use/abuse
  • Drinking a moderate to excessive amount of alcohol
  • Overheating the testicles regularly (using a hot tub or sauna)
  • Obesity
  • Poorly treated diabetes

Clearly, many factors attribute to the possibility of male infertility. Couples experiencing infertility issues have options to improve their fertility and chances of conception. Don't wait too late to think about testing for infertility. Know your options now.