Fertility Factors for Infertile Men
Fertility Testing for Men
There are numerous factors that may contribute to male infertility. Men as well as women should undergo fertility testing when a couple is having difficulty conceiving.
There are many types of fertility tests available, depending on the suspected cause of male or female infertility. Here are some of the many factors that infertile men should factor in when trying to identify the root of their inability to become pregnant.
Young Men and Lifestyle Factors
The evidence is in: Lifestyle habits young men establish can affect their future fertility. Smoking, alcohol consumption, illicit drug use, and unsafe sex behaviors may contribute to infertility later on in life, as can exposure to toxins, excess weight gain, excessive stress, and poor nutrition.
Furthermore, recent studies indicate that the heat generated to the genital areas of men from laptops can impact sperm production and contribute to male infertility. Males are thus advised to keep their laptops on their desk or table. Other factors that that can lead to testicular overheating include high fevers, saunas, hot tubs, and wearing tight briefs, all of which can temporarily lower sperm count.
Here are some more potential causes of infertility that men can be tested for:
- Varicocoeles: Enlarged varicose veins in the scrotum that can increase the temperature in the testicles and thereby damage or kill sperm.
- Retrograde Ejaculation: A condition in which sperm enter the bladder instead of leaving the body through the penis; can be diagnosed via urinalysis.
- Reproductive Tract Obstructions: Obstruction may occur in the ejaculatory ducts or vas deferens (tube that carries sperm from the testes to the urethra)
- Genital Injuries
- Genetic Disorders: Identified by genetic karyotyping, which analyzes the structure and number of chromosomes in a sample of cells
- Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs): Genital area infections may impair the ability of sperm to naturally fertilize an egg
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate)
- Hormonal Levels: Blood work checks levels of hormones such as testosterone and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which stimulates the production of sperm
- Medical Conditions: Medical conditions known to affect sperm include thyroid disease, liver and kidney failures, diabetes, HIV, chronic anemia, and more. Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation also put men at risk for infertility.
- Reduced Libido: Certain medications lower sex drive and can cause impotence. Furthermore, carbon monoxide, an ingredient found in cigarettes, is known to reduce male testosterone levels, the male hormone that fuels sex drive.
Exposure to Toxins: Erectile dysfunction and sperm abnormalities such as low sperm count, poor sperm motility, and abnormal sperm shape can result from exposure to toxins. Toxin exposure can also cause chromosomal damage leading to male infertility, to miscarriage, or to genetic defects in the baby.