For a man to be fertile, he must be able to sustain an erection and have enough semen to carry healthy, mature sperm to fertilize an egg. If one of these components is missing, male fertility problems may occur.
Symptoms of male infertility
When a man is infertile, problems are often related to factors of sperm count or sperm quality.Some potential issues that may arise include the following:
- Abnormally shaped sperm
- Sperm with poor motility
- Poor sperm quality
- Sperm that cannot attach the head to the egg
- Sperm that cannot penetrate the egg
Low sperm count is a common male infertility problem. Usually men have 20 million sperm per milliliter of semen, while a count of 10 million sperm per milliliter or lower is considered too low. At times, men suffer from azoospermia, a condition where the ejaculate contains no sperm.
Some men have a high sperm count but lack the ability to release the sperm and his sperm are unable to fertilize an egg. A related condition is retrograde flow of sperm. When sperm are ejaculated, they travel back into the bladder and thus cannot enter the woman’s body. This condition may be caused by medications or occur after surgery.
Causes of male infertility
There are many causes of male infertility. Some of the factors that may affect a man’s fertility include:
- Alcohol, smoking, or drug use
- Certain medications
- Environmental toxins
- Genetic conditions
- Chemotherapy and radiation
- Injuries, structural damage or deformity
Weight issues can also increase the risk for some male fertility problems. Extra abdominal fat is known to increase scrotal temperatures, hampering a man’s fertility. If your partner is overweight or obese, encourage him to seek help for weight loss.
Signs of male infertility
Most of the time, there are no outward signs of male infertility. Yet if the cause of male infertility is hormonal, your partner may have some outward signs such as a decrease in sex drive or reduced hair growth on his face or body.
Anytime a couple is having difficulty getting pregnant, a simple semen analysis can quickly identify if the issue is male-factor.