Infertility is more common than you might think. Though you may feel alone in your struggles to conceive a child, the truth is that nearly 1 in 7 couples face infertility. Infertility is defined as having unprotected sex on a regular, frequent basis for a year without conceiving, although we may treat your fertility issues earlier if you’re over 35 years old.
Although we usually tend to think of infertility as a “woman’s issue,” the truth is that male factors contribute to about one-third of infertility cases. Dr. Edward J. Ramirez of The Fertility & Gynecology Center – Monterey Bay IVF explains more about male factors that contribute to infertility.
What are male factors in infertility?
As we know, conception is a two-part struggle. The woman must regularly release eggs, and the male must contribute his sperm to conceive a child. Sometimes, a couple may face infertility if the woman isn’t regularly ovulating.
However, sometimes infertility is caused by the male. Some male infertility factors include:
- Low sperm count
- Low sperm morphology (associated with the sperm having defects)
- Low sperm motility (the ability to move efficiently)
- Blockages in the vas deferens, the tubes that allow the sperm to exit the body
- Absence of sperm due to illness or vasectomy
One of the first things we’ll do when you come in for an infertility evaluation is to order male sperm tests. Our office uses automated semen analysis to give us a full picture of the sperm count and quality.
Factors causing sperm abnormalities
Sometimes, you know exactly what might be causing a low sperm count (for example, if you’ve had a vasectomy.) But other times, it takes a bit of investigation to get to the bottom of the issue.
If you smoke or drink heavily, it will usually affect your sperm count and quality. Any unhealthy habits that you regularly engage in can show up in your sperm.
You may also be exposed to environmental toxins that can affect your sperm.
In addition, several hormones are involved in the production of sperm. As with women who have infertility issues, men with imbalanced hormones can be unable to conceive a child.
What to do if you’re facing male-factor infertility
If your semen analysis comes back showing any abnormalities, it’s not the time to panic. Now we know at least one of the factors we’re dealing with, and you can take steps to resolve i.t
One thing we can do is to give your partner an intrauterine insemination. This is a procedure in which you provide a sperm sample, then we wash your sperm and concentrate it so that the semen has a higher amount of quality sperm.
If this fails to work, or if you have health issues that do not allow you to use your own sperm, you can use donor sperm.
There are many ways to conceive a child, and you are only limited by what you are willing to try.
If you know you have male factor infertility or if you believe you might, the best thing to do is to make an appointment for a basic infertility evaluation. Call The Fertility & Gynecology Center – Monterey Bay IVF today or request an appointment online.