Being unable to conceive a child can be very frustrating and stressful for both parties and infertility is more common than you think. In fact, 1 in 7 couples is unable to conceive a child, even though they’ve had unprotected sex regularly for a year or more.
In as many as half of these couples, it is the male that is infertile. What are the causes of infertility in men? Let’s take a closer look at some of the causes.
Fertility is a complex process. For a female partner to become pregnant, the following is required:
- Healthy sperm has to be produced, and carried in the semen: For the healthy production of sperm, the male testicles must function correctly. In addition, they must produce testosterone and other hormones that trigger the production of sperm.
- There has to be a sufficient quantity of healthy sperm: When the sperm count is low it decreases the odds of a sperm fertilizing the female’s egg.
- Sperm motility is critical: Motility refers to the sperm’s ability to reach or penetrate the female’s egg.
Male fertility can be affected by various medical treatments and health issues such as:
- Antibodies that attack sperm
- Ejaculation issues
- Hormone imbalances
- Undescended testicles
- Chromosome defects
- Celiac disease
- Problems with sexual intercourse
- Tube defects
- Certain medications
- Previous surgeries
There are also some environmental causes, including:
- Heavy metal exposure
- Exposure to industrial chemicals
- Overheating the testicles
- Radiation or x-rays
Other possible causes of male infertility include:
- Drug and alcohol use
- Smoking cigarettes
If you and your partner have been trying to conceive and haven’t been able to, the best course of action is to seek help and guidance from your healthcare professional.