Do you think infertility is a “woman’s problem”? Well, think again. Female fertility problems may be responsible for infertility in 40 percent of couples, while 40 percent of couples have trouble getting pregnant due to male infertility. The remaining 20 percent of infertility cases are due to male and female factors. When you look at these statistics, you can see just how important it is for men to get tested thoroughly when pregnancy does not come naturally.
Healthy male fertility
For a man to get a woman pregnant, he must be able to sustain an erection, have high sperm counts, and have enough semen and healthy, mature sperm to fertilize an egg. If one of these components is missing, male factor infertility may occur.
Causes of male infertility
Both physical and psychological issues can lead to infertility in men, making it difficult to maintain an erection or to become sexually aroused. In fact, there are numerous causes of male infertility. Here is a list of some of the more common causes:
- Low sperm count
- Poor sperm motility
- Birth defects
- Hormone problems
- Illnesses or infections
- Medication side effects
- Lifestyle habits, including smoking and drug use
- Injuries and physical trauma
Other causes of infertility in men include thyroid disease, DES exposure in the womb, environmental toxins, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Genetic conditions can cause fertility problems, reducing male sperm counts. While age can be a factor in female fertility, most men are fertile until around age 60, even as sperm production starts to decline at age 40.
Less common causes of infertility in men include problems such as past surgeries or the retrograde flow of sperm. In this scenario, when the sperm is ejaculated, it travels back into the bladder. This condition may be caused by medications or occur after surgery.
See a specialist
If you are having trouble getting pregnant, find a fertility specialist near you. Ask your partner to come along and encourage him to get evaluated for male fertility problems, too.