Men are considered infertile if they produce no sperm, if they produce too few sperm, or if their sperm are abnormal or die before they can reach the egg. Chronic problems with ejaculation also contribute to male infertility. In rare cases, infertility in men is caused by an inherited condition, such as cystic fibrosis or chromosomal abnormalities.
Most infertility cases are treated with conventional medical therapies such as medication or surgery. Assisted reproductive technologies, for example, in vitro fertilization and similar treatments, account for less than 5% of infertility services. Infertility, which is often a reversible or treatable condition, should be distinguished from sterility, which implies an irreversible inability to conceive.
The only symptom of infertility is an inability to conceive. A couple should seek help for infertility if they are unable to conceive after one year of regular sexual intercourse without contraception. You will both be evaluated to determine if the infertility is related to problems in one partner, the other, or both.
The treatment and management of infertility in men will depend on the underlying cause or causes of the infertility. Treatment will focus on correcting any structural or hormonal abnormalities that may be influencing infertility. This may be accomplished through medications or surgery. Lifestyle changes and other treatments, such as assisted reproductive technologies (ART), may be used to enhance semen quality and increase the likelihood of fertilization.
The ultimate goal of infertility treatment is a pregnancy ending in the birth of a healthy baby. Infertility treatments can be lengthy and expensive. They are not always covered by medical insurance, and they are not always successful.
Treatments may include
- Lifestyle changes*
- Alternative and complementary therapies
Risk factors may include
- Tobacco use
- Use of Alcohol, Drugs and Anabolic Steroids
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Testicular injury
- Surgical procedure
- Excessive heat exposure (hot tub or sauna)