Father’s Day is a time in the year where fathers all over the world are celebrated for their contributions to their children and families. Unfortunately, some men struggle with conception and may end up not experiencing this joyous period. Male infertility makes up around one-third of the cases of infertility in general. Therefore, identifying and managing any problems that affect the production and viability of sperm cells in males is just as important as discovering and treating causes of infertility in females.
Infertility affecting males can be very stressful for the affected man as well as his partner. The following are causes that can possibly lead to problems with fertility in men and can are grouped into medical problems, environmental factors, and health and lifestyle choices.
- Pathogenic microorganisms – infections involving the male reproductive tract can affect the health of sperm and sperm production, as well as result in inflammatory changes that cause scarring and obstruction to the spermatic cord or urethra where sperm has to pass through.
- Problems with ejaculation – retrograde ejaculation occur when semen enters the bladder at the time of orgasm and this means that sperm will not exit the penis as intended. Conditions that can cause this problem include diabetes or spinal injuries.
- Varicocele – this condition is the most reversible cause of infertility in men and is characterized by swelling of the veins that drain blood from the testicles and this causes poor circulation resulting in decreased sperm cell quality.
- Dysfunctional endocrine glands – if the pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid glands are not functioning adequately or are affected by certain conditions, this can negatively impact the testicles resulting in a decreased testosterone level and subsequently reduced sperm production.
- Undescended testes – the chance of poor quality sperm increases when the testicles do not descend properly into the scrotum during the fetal development phase.
- Genetic mutations – Klinefelter’s syndrome is a genetic condition where a male is born with two X chromosomes and this results in abnormal sperm cell development.
- Anti-sperm antibodies – the body can sometimes produce antibodies that attack normal sperm leading to infertility.
- Reproductive tract defects – an obstruction in any of the numerous tubules that carry sperm out of the testicles can affect fertility in men.
- Medications and therapies – chemotherapeutic agents and radiation therapy, especially in close proximity to the reproductive tract, can negatively impact sperm production.
- Testicular exposure to high temperatures – when the testicles are exposed to high temperatures, this affects sperm function and production. Working with a laptop resting on the lap for prolonged periods of time and working for long periods next to heat sources such as a kitchen griller are some examples.
- Exposure to industrial chemicals – being exposed for extended periods of time to products such as herbicides, pesticides, organic solvents, and painting materials may affect sperm production.
- Exposure to heavy metals – being exposed to heavy metals such as lead can cause infertility in men.
Health and Lifestyle Choices
- Smoking tobacco products – sperm production can be affected by the preservatives which are inhaled together with tobacco smoke.
- Alcohol use – alcohol intake can lower testosterone levels thereby reducing sperm production.
- Using street drugs – using drugs such as cocaine and even marijuana can temporarily decrease sperm production as well as the quality of the cells.
- Obesity – increased weight can directly impact sperm as well as cause hormonal changes which decrease sperm production.
The management of male infertility will, therefore, involve addressing and resolving any of the mentioned issues which are confirmed in an affected male.
Australia Gender Selection is a world-class fertility clinic where men with infertility problems can receive the appropriate treatment so that they can improve their chances of experiencing the joy of celebrating Father’s Day.