June is Men’s Health Month and is celebrated across the country to bring awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men.  This month gives us a great opportunity to spotlight a condition that affects millions of men around the world and one of the toughest challenges a man can face – male infertility.

In about 20% of infertile couples, the man is the sole cause of the inability to conceive, and in another 30%-40%, he is the contributing factor.  This is why it is crucial for men to get tested for fertility as well as women.  By discovering male fertility issues early, the better the chances of nixing the problem sooner and achieving a successful pregnancy with their partner.

Most often, male infertility can be attributed to issues with making or moving the sperm.  However, even everyday activities can cause problems.  See below…

Causes for low sperm count or abnormal sperm:

  • Varicocele – an abnormal collection of bulging veins above the testicle (Good news! This condition accounts for 38% of male infertility cases and is the most correctable issue.)
  • Undescended testicle
  • Infections in the testicle, the prostate, or elsewhere in the body
  • Chemotherapy or cancer
  • Medicines such as anabolic steroids or anti-seizure medicines
  • Genetic abnormalities
  • Hormone problems

Causes for sperm mobility issues:

  • Retrograde ejaculation – semen ejaculates backwards into the bladder instead of out the penis
  • Absence of the vas deferens (the main sperm pipeline)
  • Obstruction anywhere in between the testicles and the penis
  • Anti-sperm antibodies that attack a man’s own sperm on their way to the egg

Daily activities that can affect the viability of sperm:

  • Drinking more than 2 drinks per day
  • Tobacco or marijuana use
  • Hot baths and whirlpools
  • Stress
  • Taking testosterone or any over-the-counter androgen like DHEA

While this information can be hard to swallow for men suffering from infertility, there is good news.   Most of these conditions can be reversed, HOWEVER, it is critical to have an evaluation by a physician and a treatment plan in place to achieve a successful pregnancy with your partner.  For information on male fertility testing at our clinics or to schedule a consultation, please give us a call today!


Resources: http://www.menshealthmonth.org/, http://www.webmd.com/men/features/male-infertility-treatments?page=1, http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/guide/male-fertility-tests