Male Infertility – Symptoms
There may be no other symptoms of Male Infertility apart from the inability to conceive a child despite frequent, unprotected intercourse.
However, some signs that can indicate infertility include:
- Erection or ejaculation problems
- Reduced sexual desire
- Pain or swelling around the testes
- Recurrent respiratory infections
- Past surgery of groin, testicle, penis or scrotum
- Inability to smell
- Abnormal breast growth (gynecomastia)
- Decreased facial or body hair
- A lower than normal sperm count
- A medical history of testicle, prostate or sexual problems
Male Infertility is usually observed in men above age 40 as the quality of sperm declines with increasing age.
Male Infertility – Causes
Male Infertility may result due to problems in sperm production or sperm delivery.
Abnormal sperm production or function may be caused due to –
- Undescended testicles
- genetic defects
- sexually transmitted infections
- diseases such as Mumps or HIV
- Varicocele (a condition in which the veins within the scrotum get swollen)
Problems with the delivery of sperm may arise due to –
- certain genetic diseases
- blockage in the testicle
- injury to the reproductive organs
You may also develop male infertility because of lifestyle choices like smoking, drinking alcohol, taking steroids or medications that can affect sperm production.
Cancer treatment may severely impair your sperm production due to radiation exposure.
Male Infertility – Diagnosis
First and foremost, your doctor will ask for information regarding your medical history, ongoing medications and sexual habits.
Your doctor may then check for lumps on the testicles or any abnormalities in the shape and structure of the penis. To find out the root cause of infertility, the following tests may also be ordered:
- Semen analysis – to analyse the count, motility (movement) and shape of your sperms
- Blood tests – to analyse the level of testosterone and other hormones
- Ultrasound – to detect obstructions in the ejaculatory duct or find any other structural abnormalities
- Chlamydia test – to find the presence of Chlamydia (a sexually transmitted infection which may affect fertility)
Male Infertility – Treatment
Male Infertility can be resolved in many ways which include:
- Lifestyle changes – regular exercise, avoiding cigarettes and alcohol, improved timing and frequency of intercourse, discontinuing medication which may impact fertility.
- Medications – medications can help in normalizing hormone levels and improving sperm quality.
- Varicocele repair procedure – a small incision is made in the lower abdomen in the inguinal area and the veins are isolated and tied off. This procedure improves sperm count and quality.
- Vasectomy Reversal surgery – a procedure performed to undo an earlier performed Vasectomy (a surgery that cinches the tubes carrying sperm from testicles to semen) so the man’s sperm can enter the ejaculate stream again.
Male Infertility – Risks & Complications
Male infertility can cause certain problems including:
- Having to opt for expensive reproductive techniques like hormone therapy or IVF
- A strained relationship due to the inability to have a child
Vasectomy reversal surgery may not guarantee fertility. Also after a Varicocele repair surgery, there is a risk of developing infections, shrinking of your testicles, blood clots in your leg and recurrence after surgery.
Male Infertility – Pre Op Care
You may have to ensure the following before a Varicocele repair or Vasectomy reversal surgery:
- Avoid eating or drinking anything after midnight on the day before surgery.
- Stop blood-thinning medications after consulting with your doctor.
- Shave the skin around the scrotal area clean of hair.
Male Infertility – Post Op Care
- Use a scrotal support (jockstrap) for the first few weeks.
- Avoid strenuous exercises.
- Take short walks to avoid blood clots in the legs.
- Avoid intercourse.