Infertility and Men. Things you should know

When time passes without conceiving, a couple starts thinking that there might be some fertility issues. In most cases, people think that the woman is infertile, but what about the male infertility?

Dr. Thanos Paraschos, Medical director at Embio IVF Medical Center in Greece - a center that performs more than 1800 cycles to foreign infertile couples every year - shares his view.

Male fertility has to do with the sperm quality and quantity. If the sperm is too little or the quality low or in some cases the combination of both, conceiving will be difficult to accomplish. The same time it will take time to a man to realize, and admit, that he may be responsible for not conceiving.

Depending on the source, 20% of reported infertility cases and 50% due to AUA occur as a result of male infertility. Although male infertility has no visible symptoms, apart from erection challenges, a lot of reasons might be hidden behind male infertility. Some of them are:

  • If the man had cancer earlier in his life this might be a factor of infertility
  • If he had gone through a groin surgery
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Life style factors
  • Affected by sexually transmitted diseases
  • Other infections
  • Low testosterone or other hormonal issues
  • “Varicocele” existence (vein in the scrotum)
  • Testosterone supplements and other anabolics for bigger muscles as well as use of antidepressants
  • Psychological factors and depression  
  • Obesity
  • Alcoholism
  • Smoking
  • Drugs, medicines and other chemicals   
  • Vasectomy
  • Sperm antibodies
  • Genetic causes
  • Prostate problems
  • Torsion
  • Premature ejaculation
  • Failure of ejaculation
  • Spinal cord injury and testicles injuries
  • Pituitary tumours

The good news is that a lot of the above are reversible following a medical or hormone treatment or some minor outpatient surgery and in a very short time. A couple that has not managed to conceive after one year of trying should visit a Fertility clinic, and both partners should take some tests and identify their reason of infertility. We have seen a lot of couples losing valuable time until they decide to go to the clinic and do what is necessary for restoring their fertility. In some cases they have gone through years of disappointment for something that could be treated only by some hormones or a 45 minute outpatient surgery, Dr. Paraschos states.

In many cases “problematic” semen can be “repaired” in our laboratories and then follow IVF or any other fertility treatment.

At last, when IVF is not possible due to very poor sperm quality the couple should consider other methods like IVF treatment with sperm donors (in Greece, donor anonymity is fully protected by law) or adoption.

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