Doctors define infertility as the inability to achieve pregnancy despite engaging in frequent, unprotected intercourse for a period of at least one year. As many as 10% to 15% of couples find themselves unable to conceive.
Causes of male infertility
Common causes are abnormal sperm function or motility, as well as low sperm production. Lifestyle choices such as smoking, consuming large amounts of alcohol, and excessive exposure to certain environmental elements are often significant risk factors. However, there are also certain diseases and urological abnormalities that could be behind infertility or low fertility, including:
In Klinefelter’s syndrome, a genetic disorder, a man has two X and one Y chromosomes, instead of one X and one Y. This causes the testicles to develop unusually, resulting in low or absent sperm production and possible low testosterone.
A medical condition that affects the hypothalamus or pituitary gland in the brain can lead to a problem in the production of the hormones that control the testicles.
Some infections can temporarily affect sperm motility; repeated bouts of sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, in particular, are associated with male infertility. These infections can lead to scarring and block the movement of sperm. A case of mumps after puberty could cause the testicles to become inflamed, which can impair sperm production. In addition, inflammation of the urethra, prostate or epididymis can affect sperm function.
In this case, during fetal development one or both testicles fail to move from the abdomen into the scrotum. This condition can lead to testicular atrophy and reduced sperm production.
Dilated veins in the scrotum can hamper the normal cooling of the testicles, which in turn can lead to a decrease in sperm production, or impairment of sperm function. However, microsurgical varicocelectomy delivers excellent results with very low chances of recurrence.
Our urologists will usually conduct special tests on your prostate, testicles and seminal vesicles to determine if there is any correctable cause of infertility. Often, despite several investigations, no cause can be found. In this case, two excellent options are invitro-fertilization (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) can be considered. Our urologists will be able to help facilitate these options for you.