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Infertility: Causes and Treatment of Male Infertility

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net 
Infertility problems have led to so many broken marriages.In Nigeria, Infertility evaluation have traditionally focussed on women. Some men are naturally born with sperm abnormalities, while for some the problem surfaces later in life as a result of illness, injury, biological, reckless lifestyle or even the unexplainable infertility factors. Medical experts reveal that with IVF, infertility treatment over the years has been a huge success. This article will enlighten you with the common cause of infertility in men and treatment.  Read on

Wikipedia defines infertility in men as a male's inability to cause pregnancy in a fertile female. After a year of regular unprotected sexual intercourse and pregnancy fail to occur, both couples are expected to go for a test to examine what the problem is. This is because it has also been proven medically that some men are diagnosed infertile.  A medical check- up can reveal infertility causes and also detect other potentially serious medical problems, including genetic mutations, cancer, or diabetes.

Types of Male Infertility

  • Low sperm count – (Oligospermia). producing  too few sperm or none at all
  • Poor sperm motility or movement (Asthenospermia).
  • Abnormal sperm shape or structure (Teratospermia).
  • Absence of sperm - Azoospermia

Risk Factors Causing Male Infertility

  • Age: As men age, their sperm counts, motility and genetic quality of sperm tends to decrease in a man
  • Enlargement of the variscocose vein: spematic code Varicocele, an enlarged varicose vein in the spermatic cord that connects to the testicle
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases: STD’s causes scarring in the male reproductive system
  • Reckless Lifestyle: Drug abuse and tobacco smoking and alchohol
  • Radiation: Chemotherapy treatment for cancer can affect a man’s fertility.
  • Environmental Toxins: Exposure to pesticides, lead and self-medication

Diagnosis

If male infertility is suspected, a semen analysis is performed. This test will evaluate the number and health of his sperm. A blood test can also be performed to check his testosterone level and other male hormones.
If a man’s semen analysis is found to be abnormal, he is immediately referred to a reproductive urologist to correct any abnormalities.

The reproductive urologist will inquire to know if there is any medical history such as:

Fertility History

  • Duration of infertility
  • Frequency of sexual intercourse, timing and duration
  • Childhood illnesses and any problems in development
  • Any history of previous STD’s, surgeries or radiation
  • History of alcohol, smoking or drug
  • Exposure to chemical substance
  • Any family history of reproductive problems

Physical Examination

  • The fertility urologist will perform the below physical examinations:
  • The doctor will examine the penis for  warts or discharge from the urinary tract and hypospadias .
  • The urologist will check testes and scrotum, including the testes for any physical abnormalities.
  • The doctor will also check the prostate gland for abnormalities.

Medical Examination

  • The doctor refers the patient to go for a laboratory test and an ultrasound scan:
  • Semen analysis to evaluate the quantity and quality of sperm
  • Blood tests to evaluate hormone levels
  • Imaging tests to look for structural problems
  • Genetic testing to identify sperm DNA fragmentation, chromosomal defects, or genetic diseases

Semen Analysis

The semen analysis test helps evaluate a man's fertility :
  • A man should abstain from ejaculation for several days before the test because each ejaculation can reduce the number of sperm by as much as a third. To ensure an accurate sample, most doctors recommend abstaining from ejaculation for at least 2 days, but not more than 5 days, prior to semen collection.
  • A good quantity of the man’s semen is collected by masturbation in a jar at the hospital so that it can be kept at body temperature and delivered immediately to the laboratory before it dies or lose motility. The semen sample is analyzed within 2 hours.

Treatment

The urologist can improve semen function by recommending certain lifestyle changes, by hormonal treatments, or by surgery.
 
Treatment for infertility should first address any underlying medical conditions that may be contributing to fertility problems. Drug therapy may be used to treat hypogonadism and other hormonally related conditions. Surgery is used to repair varicoceles and correct any obstructions in the reproductive tract. However, there is some controversy over whether varicocele embolisation or surgery actually improves fertility. Some studies indicate that varicocele treatment may not help improve a couple’s chances of conception.
 
In most cases however, sperm function may not improve and therefore any attempts at pregnancy may require additional treatments or procedures performed. If fertility issues remain unresolved, assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (also known as ICSI) should be considered.
 
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection is commonly used in combination with in vitro fertilization in cases of male factor infertility. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection widely known as ICSI is often used in a situation where the man is diagnosed with sperm problem. In this case, using the ICSI method, a single sperm is drawn from the man and injected into a mature egg of the woman or donor for fertilization. Donor eggs or sperm can be use when a man or woman’s if found to possibly transmit a genetic disease to a baby.
 
Related:
Infertility: Possible Causes of Female Infertility and factors that increase the risk of infertility in women
Infertility:Trying to Conceive, Diagnoses and IVF Treatment (A Guide for Expectant Mothers)

IVF: List of Fertility Clinics In Nigeria



Now you know the causes and treatment of infertility in men. The sperm count test is performed, only if a man's fertility is in question. The analysis report should contain results of any abnormalities in sperm count, motility, and morphology as well as any problem in the semen.

However, infertility drugs and  ivf (ICSI) treatment success rate saves the situation.

Please leave us a comment that might be helpful to people with fertility issues,

Thank you! 

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