Almost all infertility in men is caused by problems with sperm, sperm transport and blockages as well as functional and hormonal issues.
The main sign of male infertility is the inability to conceive a child.
The most common causes of male infertility are:
Sperm are the male reproductive cells. First of all to have a child genetic material from the sperm must combine with the genetic material from an egg, in a process called fertilisation.
Most noteworthy healthy, sperm when fully developed can’t be seen by the human eye. They are very small – 0.05 millimetres long.
Sperm and are made up of three parts, a head, neck and tail. In the head is a structure called the nucleus, which contains 23 chromosomes). Next is the head which is designed to bind and enter the egg. The neck of the sperm joins the head to the tail. The tail has the job of pushing the sperm towards the egg and moves in a whipping motion.
The most common causes of male infertility are sperm-related and include:
There are not a lot of symptoms of male infertility. The biggest one is the inability to conceive a child after 12 months of trying. Some other things to look out for include:
|Sperm production problems||• Chromosomal or genetic causes
• Undescended testes
• Torsion – twisting of the testes in scrotum
• varicose veins in the testes
• Medicines and chemicals
• Radiation damage
|Blockage of sperm transport||• Infections• Prostate-related problems
• Absence of vas deferens
|Sexual problems||• Retrograde or premature ejaculation• Failure of ejaculation
• Erectile dysfunction
• Infrequent intercourse
• Spinal cord injury
• Prostate surgery
• Damage to nerves
• Some medicines
|Hormonal problems||• Pituitary tumours• Anabolic (androgenic) steroid abuse|
|Sperm antibodies||• Vasectomy• Injury or infection in the epididymis|
We will start with a conversation to understand your medical history a physical examination.
Additionally, we will complete a semen analysis so we can check the number, shape and movement of sperm. The samples will be sent to a laboratory and checked for abnormalities and the presence of antibodies.
In the event that abnormalities in the semen analysis, we may require blood tests to help us assess hormone levels too, which will assist in the final diagnosis.
Other things we will consider are a testicular biopsy. This involves a fine needle and microscope being used to check the network of tubes within the testicles.
We will also complete ultrasound scans to enable us to look in more detail at organs like the prostate gland.
There are no treatments that can improve sperm quality. Certain treatments can increase your chances of having a baby. These include assisted reproductive technologies where eggs are fertilised in a test tube using the partner’s sperm.
Some of the options available to infertile men who are wanting to have a baby include: