What Are the Most Common Causes of Male Infertility?

When you want to start a family, having trouble conceiving can be devastating. For couples where the partners are younger than 35, infertility is diagnosed after a year of continually trying to conceive. If couple is 35 or older, an infertility workup is recommended after six months of trying.

An evaluation of fertility involves both partners, and up to a third of cases, problems with the man are solely responsible for the inability to get pregnant. Another third are due to issues with both partners and the final third are either undetermined or caused by a combination of the partners’ issues.

At the office of Mike Hsieh, MD, we do fertility evaluations for men and offer treatment.

The most common causes of male infertility include:

Sperm problems

An ample amount of high-quality sperm is important to conception. When a man’s testes produce low quantities or low-quality sperm, a couple may have trouble getting pregnant.

In addition to producing adequate amounts of sperm, they may also have motility issues, so can’t reach the egg. 

Sexual dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is the inability to obtain or maintain an erection firm enough for sex. You may suffer from ED due to physical or emotional reasons, or both. If you’re trying to conceive and suffer from erectile dysfunction, schedule an evaluation with Dr. Hsieh.

Vein problems

Varicoceles occurs when the veins that drain the testicle are swollen. The inflammation causes sperm quality to be lower and can make conception impossible. In vitro fertilization or inseminations may be needed to improve infertility in men with large varicoceles. 

Tube blockages

The sperm must travel from the testes to the penis for ejaculation. When any of the tubes in the testes are blocked, the sperm cannot reach the egg and fertilization can’t happen. Blockages can be congenital (which is seen in cystic fibrosis carriers) or acquired. 

Lifestyle issues

Some medications, particularly steroids, cancer drugs, and testosterone replacement therapy, affect sperm quality and production. Men who are excessively overweight or obese may have compromised fertility, too.

Anyone using illicit drugs, marijuana, and excessive amounts of alcohol can also have issues with sperm quality. Emotional issues, such as stress and depression, may also get in the way of a man’s fertility. 

Other less common causes

A number of other health issues can also contribute to male infertility. These include undescended testicles, infections in the testicle or prostate, cancer treatment, and hormone problems.

At our office, Dr. Hsieh performs semen analysis and other tests to help diagnose the cause of your male infertility. When the reason is found, treatment is tailored to improve your chances of starting a family. Rest assured that we do everything possible to help boost your fertility.

Make an appointment with Dr. Hsieh if you and your partner are having trouble getting pregnant. Call our office in La Jolla, California, or book online today.

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