Although it is rarely thought as the initial cause, infertility is frequently related to fertility issues in the male.
In couples with infertility, approximately 40% of the time a male factor is the main or contributing cause why the couple is having difficulty in getting pregnant.
Male Infertility Evaluation
Usually the problem is something you can’t see, an insufficient number of sperm or problems with the sperm movement or function. In addition to taking your medical and family history, your doctor will order a semen analysis to evaluate the number, movement, and function of your sperm. If you have had a history of an undescended testicle as a child, it is important to share that with your physician.
If you have a lack of interest in sex or difficulty maintaining an erection or ejaculating it is important to share that information with your physician. Sometimes those symptoms indicate you are not producing enough testosterone. There are blood tests your doctor can order that can measure the hormone levels important for testosterone and sperm production.
Semen Analysis Results
If the semen analysis shows a low number of sperm, or problems with sperm movement or function, your doctor will usually order other semen analysis tests several weeks or months from the previous test. Sperm production occurs over several months and it is important to see if any abnormalities seen on the initial test where temporary. Sperm are very sensitive to heat (that is why they are outside our body), which is why you should avoid hot tubs if you are trying to conceive.
Male Infertility Treatments
If you do have a low number of sperm, or problems with sperm movement or function, there are effective treatments that can help you and your partner conceive. Depending on the sperm count your doctor might recommend intrauterine (artificial) insemination or in vitro fertilization with or without fertilization of the eggs with your sperm using a very small needle (ICSI). For men who do not have sperm in their semen, there are options to have surgery to remove sperm from the testicles. In addition, sperm donated by another man (usually anonymously) can be used for fertility treatments when no sperm are produced by the male.