Infertility isn’t solely a women’s challenge. Our Dallas fertility center team wants you to understand male infertility factors, which account for half of all cases, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
Sperm disorders – the most common male infertility factor
Difficulties making healthy sperm can cause male infertility. There may be too few sperm or sperm may be immature, abnormally shaped or unable to swim. Several causes of sperm disorders are commonly reported in men who experience male infertility.
- Infections or inflammatory conditions such as having the mumps after puberty
- Hormone or pituitary gland irregularities
- Immune problems that generate antibodies against sperm
- Genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis or hemochromatosis
- Erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation
- Men who have had groin injuries or surgeries either as an adult, or when they were children
- Men who have taken anabolic steroids, most notably testosterone
Structural or inherited male factors can cause issues
Anything blocking the genital tract can hamper the flow of semen. Some items that our fertility specialists or urologists look for:
- A history of a sexually transmitted disease that causes infection or inflammation
- Scar tissue from surgery or twisted or swollen veins in the scrotum
- Liver or kidney disease
- Treatment for seizure disorders
- Any trauma to the testicles, or a prior vasectomy or major abdominal or pelvic surgery
- A history of undescended testicles
- Medication history, most notably the use of testosterone
- Being born with a fertility disorder or having a blood relative with a fertility disorder
- Certain medical conditions such as tumors or chronic illnesses such as sickle cell disease
Environmental male factors
Many researchers believe environmental causes explain an ongoing decline in male fertility. Exposure to toxic substances can be harmful, as can exposure of the genitals to elevated temperatures (such as with hot baths, whirlpools or steam rooms).
Also problematic is in-utero exposure to Diethylstilbestrol (DES), a synthetic form of estrogen, the female hormone. Finally, men facing the burden of a cancer diagnosis should be aware of the negative effects on fertility of medical treatments such as surgery or radiation.
Behavioral male factors
A higher risk of male infertility is tied to unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, using alcohol or illicit drugs, and being overweight. Other behavioral factors are having certain past or present infections or taking medications for ulcers, psoriasis, depression or high blood pressure.
Get help with male factors
Infertility challenges are frustrating, but we can address all the factors associated with male infertility. Contact us to learn more and get tested. We’ll give you all the information and assistance you need to achieve your goal of starting a family or adding another child.