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Houston Fertility Journal

    Infertility Isn’t Only a Female Issue

    July 19, 2017 / by Center of Reproductive Medicine   

    Center of Reproductive Medicine


    There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to infertility. One of the most common ones is that it’s mainly a female issue, but the reality is that achieving pregnancy is not solely reliant on the female alone. It takes two to tango as they say.

    In an effort to help dispel this misconception, below you’ll find some facts about male infertility. If you want to go deeper into the truths about infertility we also recommend you get our free eBook, Getting Pregnant 101: Facts, Myths, and Secrets To Fertility.

    Infertility by the Numbers

    The American Urological Association reported these facts regarding infertility:

    • It takes up to three months, but as little as 10 weeks for a man's body to produce more sperm.
    • A man that has less than 20 million sperm per milliliter of semen might have a higher chance of infertility.
    • Sperm can live up to five days inside a woman's body after intercourse.
    • In his lifetime, an average man can produce more than 500 billion sperm.
    • Women cannot get pregnant after menopause, but men can be fertile throughout their entire lives because there is no clock on how long they can produce sperm.
    • The normal size of a sperm cell is approximately 5 micrometers compared with the normal size of a woman's egg of 120 micrometers.
    • About 13 out of 100 couples can't get pregnant with unprotected sex. In as many as half of those couples that are suffering from infertility, the cause is attributed to the male.

    Male Infertility is Real

    If half of the cases of infertility are caused by men, what could lead to male infertility? It could be attributed to the following:

    • Low sperm production
    • Illness or chronic health problems
    • Blockage preventing sperm delivery or some other abnormal sperm functions
    • Injury
    • Smoking, drinking, drug use, and other lifestyle choices
    • Stress
    • Obesity

    Medical Causes for Male Infertility

    This is far from an exhaustive list, but here are a few of the medical causes that can lead to male infertility:

    • Some infections - There are some infections such as sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea and HIV, mumps, bacterial infections and more that can reduce or interfere with sperm count.
    • Hormone imbalances - Although only a small percentage of men have infertility due to hormone imbalances, it can still be a cause that should be ruled out.
    • Varicocele - This is a varicose vein that is swollen and blocks the blood flow around and/or of the testes. It can cause poor sperm production.
    • Hypospadias - This is a congenital condition where the opening of the urethra is not located at the tip of the penis, and it can prevent ejaculation of semen during intercourse. According to the Center for Disease Control, “It is estimated that each year about 5 boys out of every 1,000 born in the United States have hypospadias, making it one of the most common birth defects.”
    • Undescended testicle(s), tumors, cancer of the prostate or cancer of the testicles - All of these conditions can cause a low or non-existent sperm count.

    In many of the causes of male infertility the condition can reversed with surgeries and/or medication. However, like any issue causing infertility, this is not always the case. That is why it is so important to work with professionals to figure out the causes, and then work towards correcting them to give you the best chances possible of achieving pregnancy.

    When It’s Time to Seek Help

    If a couple is struggling to achieve pregnancy after a year of trying, it’s a good idea to meet with a fertility specialist. If however, the age of the female trying to get pregnant is over 35, seek help after six months.

    Evaluating both the male and female at the same time can rule out or diagnose many potential causes leading to infertility. Physical evaluations, laboratory testing and more can be performed to give you a better idea of your next best course of action.

    Continue Your Education

    The more knowledge you arm yourself with, the better prepared you will be for any and all outcomes related to your goal of starting or growing your family. Don’t forget to grab a free copy of our eBook Getting Pregnant 101: Facts, Myths, and Secrets To Fertility. Simply click the title and you’ll be redirected to a page to have the eBook sent directly to your email.

    Getting Pregnant 101: Facts, Myths, and Secrets To Fertility

    Topics: Male Fertility

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