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Infertility in Men
While there are many potential causes of infertility that are specific to women, men can also contribute to the cause of infertility within a couple. Up to 40% trace their fertility at least partially to the male partner. Sperm motility – the movement of the sperm – and sperm morphology – the shape and formation of the sperm and its DNA – are both common factors.
Male factor infertility can include:
- Low sperm count
- Poor sperm health
- Vas deference blockage
A healthy sperm count is considered to be 20 million sperm/mL or greater. Anything less is considered low and can affect fertilization. Normal size, shape, and ability to move of the majority of the sperm can also be measured.
Low sperm count, the absence of sperm, or poor sperm health can be a result of some or a combination of the following reasons:
- Poor lifestyle choices
- Genetic predisposition
- Damaged reproductive organs
- Previous or current illness such as cancer of the organs near the groin which have been treated with chemotherapy
- Problems with the pituitary glands reduce the body’s ability to produce testosterone and sperm.
Having a low sperm count does not necessarily mean you will have poor sperm health and vice versa. If male factor fertility is suspected, you can have your semen for sperm mobility and morphology, with recommendations for the next steps.
Treating Male Factor Infertility
When surgery or medical therapy are not appropriate treatment options, intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in virtro fertilization (IVF) with or without intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) can overcome male factor infertility. The choice of assisted reproduction usually depends on the male factor severity. IUI is used with mild male factor and involves placement of washed motile sperm in the uterus, in closer proximity to the fallopian tubes where fertilization occurs. IVF overcomes any obstacles to sperm movement in the female reproductive tract by allowing fertilization to occur in vitro, using only a few million motile sperm. With severe male factor infertility where only, a few motile sperm are present, IVF with ICSI allows for conception with even less sperm, as just one viable sperm is injected into the egg to create an embryo.
Disclaimer: Our blog articles are to enlighten you on general healthcare or fertility-related issues. This isn’t a diagnosis. Please feel free to reach out to us here for a consultation with a specialist to examine your case.