When it comes to those struggling with infertility, research shows that there may be a male factor in the reason for couples being unable to conceive naturally.
According to recent available statistical information, nearly 15% of couples who report trying to conceive are labeled “infertile”. For these individuals and couples, repeated instances of unprotected intercourse have failed to result in a viable pregnancy for at least a year. For these couples, the devastation that comes with this situation can lead many to seek medical advice and intervention to understand the issue at hand.
There are many different aspects of the male infertility factor including low sperm production, an abnormality in the function of the sperm, or physical abnormalities that prevent sperm from traveling to the Fallopian tubes. Infertility can be stressful and frustrating, but a number of treatments for men are available.
I’m Concerned - Should I See A Doctor?
If you are a male who is experiencing infertility issues with your significant other, there are several signs that may indicate the need to see our office for testing:
Sexual function problems such as erectile issues, problems ejaculating, or low sex drive.
A recorded or diagnosed history of testicle or prostate issues
Tests that show abnormal sperm count
Any pain or discomfort in the testicle area, including the presence of lump(s)
Abnormal breast growth (also known as gynecomastia)
A decrease in facial or body hair that may be a sign of chromosomal or hormonal abnormalities
Methods to Prevent Issues Related to Male Infertility
Unfortunately, there are many causes of male infertility that simply cannot be prevented. However, there are several lifestyle choices that men can take to ensure that they are at their healthiest when they decide to try and conceive with their partner:
Drinking little or no alcohol
Avoiding illicit drugs
Keeping the weight off
Don’t get a vasectomy
Avoiding things that lead to prolonged heat for the testicles
Reducing your stress
Avoiding exposure to pesticides and other toxins
Common Diagnosis & Testing Procedures
While it is likely that couples struggling with infertility will desire to have both parties tested in hopes of discovering the issue, there are several methods by which men can currently be tested for an infertility diagnosis. Please note that there are instances where the cause cannot be identified even through testing.
Common diagnosis process may include:
General physical examination and medical history. This includes examining your genitals and asking questions about any inherited conditions, chronic health problems, illnesses, injuries or surgeries that could affect fertility. Your doctor might also ask about your sexual habits and about your sexual development during puberty.
The first form of testing your doctor may prescribe is semen analysis. By obtaining a semen sample, tests can be run to determine the motility and viability of your sperm cells. This test could give insight as to whether or not issues are present with the sperm. Depending on the results of a semen analysis, your doctor may recommend other tests as seen below.
If there is sperm present in urine, this could indicate that the sperm are traveling to the bladder rather than through the penis, an issue known as retrograde ejaculation. This could point to the problem with sperm being released during intercourse.
Sperm Function Tests
Sperm function tests can be run to see how mobile sperm are following ejaculation, as well as the ability for sperm to penetrate an egg.
A scrotal ultrasound uses sound waves to create an image of the inside of the scrotum - helping to uncover any issues that may be preventing proper sperm production and release.
In a transrectal ultrasound, a specialist will insert a lubricated wand into the rectum to allow for prostate examination, as well as discover any blockages that may be occurring near ejaculatory ducts and seminal vesicles.
Similar to genetic testing, a blood-drawn hormonal test focuses on the hormones produced by the pituitary gland, the hypothalamus, and the testicles to see the levels of hormones present may be cause for issues related to low sperm count or infertility.
These tests use blood testing to seek whether or not low sperm counts are a result of a chromosomal imbalance or genetic abnormality.
A more invasive procedure, a biopsy uses a needle to remove a sample from the testicle to test for any internal issues with sperm transport.
Concerned that you may be suffering from male infertility? Contact Dr. Leveno today!
While it may seem uncommon to struggle with male infertility, it is a common issue that plagues many couples. Knowledge is power, and if you are concerned about male infertility issues, contact Dr. Leveno’s office in Plano, Texas today. Dr. Leveno’s experience in working with men through the infertility process will help you understand male infertility specifics and give you hope for the future!