Infertility denotes a situation where a sexually active couple who are not using any contraception are unable to become pregnant despite the fact that they have been trying for a year or more. In these situations, the male partner will be the problem in about 20% of cases and for about 30% of infertile couples, the problem will be with both partners; the man contributes to about 50% of all infertility.
Provided that there is no obvious sign of sexual dysfunction, problems with achieving erections, hormonal problems and ejaculation, infertility is largely an invisible problem and it is likely that it will remain undiscovered until a man is tested when infertility problems arise
If you and your partner have been trying to become pregnant for a year or more, it may be time to seek advice from your GP.
Your doctor will need to ask how long you have been trying for a family, ask if there have been any problems sexually. Your medical history and lifestyle will be relevant as may some of the following questions:
Your doctor will perform an examination and order some tests. The tests will include a semen test which can be collected in the clinic or at home. The semen will be tested for sperm count, the quality of the sperm and the mobility of the sperm. If there are any problems the test will be repeated in 12 weeks and if the problem persists you will be referred to a fertility specialist
If you are having trouble achieving or maintaining an erection long enough to have sexual intercourse, your doctor may request a blood test to check your hormone levels. The GP may also test for diabetes as this condition can cause erectile dysfunction
Further tests may include:
It may be that an underlying health condition is causing fertility issues; if the condition is treated the result may be to restore a man’s fertility
Male infertility has many possible causes and these can be grouped as follows:
As many as 50% of infertile men do not exhibit anything which may be causing the condition. Apart from the fact that an infertile man may wish to become a father, infertility is largely a harmless issue. However, there are approximately 1% of infertile men whose infertility is as a result of a serious medical problem such as hormonal problems, infections or tumours and these issues must be addressed
Some genetic problems can harm the production of sperm or block the flow of sperm. The following genetic conditions can cause infertility by affecting the way that sperm is produced:
If you have been trying for a baby for less than a year there are some things that you can try that may increase your chance of conceiving naturally
Treatment for male infertility is wholly dependent on its cause:
It may be that despite having had a myriad of tests that no cause for the lack of falling pregnant can be found and it is likely that a couple just need more time to conceive
There is likely to be a great deal of stress associated with the inability to become pregnant. There are many ways of managing stress that your health professional will be able to help you with. Counselling and support groups may be the best approach
Find out more about the treatments mentioned in this article below:
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