Male fertility requires that an adequate amount of “quality” sperm is ejaculated into the vagina and capable of swimming through the cervix, the uterus and the fallopian tubes to fertilize an egg.
A sperm must attach to, and penetrate the membrane surrounding the egg and fertilize the egg.
For more info you can also read our blog post on Infertility causes and treatment options .
Symptoms of infertility in men
Male infertility is due to either abnormal sperm production or abnormal sperm function. Injuries, prolonged illness, chronic health problems, infections, genetic issues, hormone imbalance, dilated veins around the testicle and lifestyle cause male infertility.
While most men who experience infertility do not have any other signs or symptoms known include:
- Problems with sexual function
- Pain, swelling or a lump in the testicle/scrotum area
- Abnormal breast growth
- Decreased facial or body hair
- Low sperm count
Causes of male infertility
Male fertility is a complex process. To get your partner pregnant, the following must occur:
- You must produce healthy sperm
- Sperm have to be carried from the testicle into the semen and ejaculated.
- There needs to be enough sperm in the semen.
- Sperm must be motile and functional and be able to bind, penetrate and fertilize the egg.
The main causes of male infertility include:
- Age: With the increasing age fertility decreases. Males over the age of 40 years may be less fertile than younger men.
- Undescended testicles: in childhood which required medical or surgical treatment. Infection, such as chlamydia,gonorrhea and HIV cause inflammation of the testicles (orchitis) or epididymis (epididymitis) and there by interfere with sperm production or transit though the reproductive tract due to scarring.
- Varicocele is the swelling of veins that drain the testicle, this causes abnormally high temperature and leads to reduced sperm quality.
- Ejaculation Problems: such as premature ejaculation, failure of ejaculation, and retrograde ejaculation.
- Sexual Intercourse Problems: The problems include trouble maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction – ED), premature ejaculation, painful intercourse, or psychological or relationship problems that interfere with the sex.
- Tumors: both benign and malignant tumors can affect fertility. Additionally, surgery, radiation or chemotherapy to treat cancer can harm fertility.
- Anti-sperm antibodies the men’s own immune system attacks their sperm cells.
- Genetic disorders: including cystic fibrosis, Kartagener’s syndrome, Kallmann’s syndrome, and chromosomal disorders like Klinefelter’s syndrome. affect male fertility.
- Environmental factors: Excessive exposure to heat, toxins and chemicals may adversely affect production and function.
- Endocrine Disorders: disorders that affect hormones and endocrine organs including thehypothalamus, pituitary, thyroid, adrenals and testicles can impair fertility. Diabetes is a major contributor to male infertility. Also low testosterone (male hypogonadism) and other hormonal problems are common in infertile men.
- Medications: chemotherapy antibiotics, testosterone replacement therapy, antidepressants and medications for high blood pressure can affect fertility.
Health, lifestyle and other causes
- Drug use
- Anabolic steroid use especially testosterone
- Alcohol use
- Tobacco smoking
- Emotional stress
When To See A Doctor
A visit to a doctor is recommended in cases where you have been unable to conceive a child after a year of unprotected intercourse or in cases of below-listed problems:
- Erection or ejaculation problems, low sex drive, or other problems with sexual function
- Pain, discomfort, a lump or swelling in the testicle or scrotum.
- A history of testicle, prostate or sexual problems
- A groin, testicle, penis or scrotum surgery
- Are over 40 years of age
- Have known fertility problems
- Have undergone treatment for cancer
- Have a low sperm count
- Small testicles
- Overweight: Being overweight can cause a harmful effect on sperm count.
A visit to a fertility doctor in Newport Beach, CA is a recommended if you and your partner have been trying for pregnancy for the past 12 months without success. Infertility is a couple’s problem not just men’s or women’s.
Infertility can be a sign of undiagnosed health problems, so it is important that you get evaluated at Eden Fertility Center which combines the latest fertility treatment technology with a luxury level care. We offer fertility treatments ranging from basic to advanced, including IUI, In-vitro fertilization (IVF), Surrogacy, LGBTQ+ Fertility, Genetic Testing/Screening, Egg and sperm donation and Egg Freezing.
Diagnosis & Treatment Options
Initial male fertility diagnosis includes a medical history, physical examination, hormone tests and semen analyses.
- Medical History: The doctor will ask about your health conditions, surgeries, medications, lifestyle factors, family history, sexual history and other relevant issues.
- Physical Examination: Is usually performed by a fertility-trained urologist. The doctor will look for signs of underlying medical issues on the whole body with an emphasis on the penis, testicles and prostate.
- Semen analysis: involves checking the number, movement and shape of the sperm. The quality of your sperm tells much about your ability to conceive.
- Hormonal Profile: The doctor may check your hormones with a blood test.
- Genetics: Genetic testing ranges from a karyotype to evaluation of specific mutations such as Cystic Fibrosis and Y Chromosome microdeletions. In some cases sperm DNA fragmentation may also be recommended.
A Semen Analysis is essential in evaluating male fertility
It involves checking the number, movement and shape of the sperm cells.
- Volume: is a measure of amount of the ejaculate.
- Count: is reported as a concentration (# of sperm/ml) and total sperm count.
- Motility: is the percentage of moving sperm.
- Morphology: is the percentage of normally shaped sperm cells.
Men with an abnormal semen analysis should consult with a reproductive endocrinologist or a fertility-trained urologist. Most men with an abnormal semen analysis can father children with appropriate treatment. Schedule an appointment for our male infertility services in Newport Beach & Fullerton CA.
Male Infertility Treatments
- Hormone and Medical Therapy – hormonal medications are often used to stimulate sperm production. Antioxidant supplements may also be recommended to improve sperm quality.
- ICSI – intracytoplasmic sperm injection, with IVF, is a procedure where a single sperm cell is directly injected into the egg. ICSI can be used in conjunction with a testicular biopsy procedure.
- Testicular Biopsy: performed in cases of very poor or absent sperm in the ejaculate. A small cut is made on the scrotum. The procedure serves both the purposes of finding a cause of infertility and to collect sperm for reproduction.
- Microsurgical testicular sperm extraction (micro TESE) is a surgical procedure used to retrieve sperm from the seminiferous tubules of a male’s testes. It is used for men with non-obstructive azoospermia.
- TESA – Testicular Sperm Aspiration
- MESA – Microsurgical Epididymal Sperm Aspiration
- PESA – Percutaneous Epididymal Sperm Aspiration
- IUI – Intrauterine Insemination is a fertility treatment that involves placing sperm inside a woman’s uterus to facilitate fertilization. The goal of IUI is to increase the number of sperm that reach the fallopian tubes and increases the chance of fertilization.
- Sperm donor – Donor sperm can be used with IVF or IUI.
- Donor sperm can be obtained from a anonymous donor through a licensed sperm bank or a know (directed) donor.
Male factor infertility is a complex problem and requires the expertise of specially-trained professionals. Our doctors in Newport Beach & Fullerton CA treat male infertility disorders and provide life-changing medical care for men dealing with infertility and erectile dysfunction. Book an appointment for male fertility evaluation and semen analysis at an Eden Fertility Center today.