Male infertility: What you need to know
Infertility is not something that affects only women. About 30% of the time, it can be a combination of male and female issues. Fertility specialist Creighton Likes, III, MD, explained what can cause infertility problems in men.
“There is a difference between men and women when you are talking about fertility, although both can struggle. Women are born with all the eggs they are going to have. As they age and have cycles, they lose eggs. For women, aging affects fertility. Men will typically produce sperm well into their older years,” said Dr. Likes.
What are male infertility risk factors?
- Tight clothing
- Sauna use
“It is important to remember everything in moderation when it comes to risk factors,” said Dr. Likes.
Other things that can cause male infertility include immune system factors, systemic disease, sexual factors, genetic issues, urogenital infection and undescended testicles. One-third of causes are undefined, meaning you may never know the reason for infertility, while some causes, like an infection, can usually be addressed and fixed.
Can testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) help with male infertility?
Dr. Likes said TRT can actually harm fertility in men because it drastically decreases sperm production. TRT is only helpful for those not trying to conceive.
What should men do if they are struggling with infertility?
Seeing a fertility specialist is the first step in finding some answers and a possible solution. Most specialists will recommend a medical evaluation of both the man and woman trying to conceive. The evaluation process will include:
- Medical history. The provider will ask questions about your family medical history and your personal medical history. If you have had any chemotherapy or radiation, that can affect your fertility.
- Exam. A physical exam will be done so the provider can get a full understanding of your health to make sure there aren’t other factors at play.
- Semen analysis. You will need to provide a semen sample to be analyzed.
It is important to understand that tests and exams are just a snapshot of the entire fertility picture for an individual. If you are struggling to conceive naturally and are looking for answers and possible solutions, talk to a fertility specialist.
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