Infertility: The Male Factor

What are common male factor diagnoses?

 LOW SPERM COUNT

Textbook definition: Low sperm count is when the male has less than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen.

Diagnosis: To check sperm count, you need to see a doctor to do a sperm analysis. The semen sample is collected and analyzed.

What are they looking for? Your Healthcare Provider will be looking for the amount of sperm within the semen and also for any abnormalities in movement and shape of the sperm.

Some medical causes:

  • Varicocele- swelling of veins that drain the testicles that affects cooling of testicles. Can lead to reduced sperm count and motility issues.
  • Antibodies that attack sperm- body mistakes sperm as harmful, creates special proteins (antibodies) that work to damage or kill sperm. Can be caused in either the man or woman’s body.
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Chromosome defects- normally men get 1x and 1y chromosomes but some get 2x chromosomes and 1y.
  • Celiac disease- a digestive disorder that is sensitive to gluten.
  • Infections

Environment causes:

  • Industrial chemicals
  • Heavy medical exposure
  • Radiation/x-rays
  • Overheating testicles
  • Smoking tobacco
  • Drinking alcohol

Treatment:

  • Surgery- For example, a swelling of the veins that drain the testicle (varicocele) can often be surgically fixed or an obstructed vas deferens tube repaired.
  • Treating infections- Antibiotics can cure an infection of the reproductive tract, but this doesn’t always restore fertility.
  • Hormone treatments and medications- Hormone replacement or medications may be prescribed to change hormone levels. It can take between three and six months before you’ll notice any effects on your semen analysis.
  • Assisted reproductive technology (ART)- ART treatments involve obtaining sperm through normal ejaculation, surgical extraction or from donor individuals, depending on your specific case and wishes. The sperm is then inserted into the female genital tract, or used for in vitro fertilization or intracytoplasmic sperm injection.

 

LOW SPERM MOTILITY

Textbook definition: When a low percentage of sperm per milliliter of semen is moving in a forward direction (progressive direction). Less than 35% is considered low.

Diagnosis: You can find out if you have sperm motility issues by having a sperm analysis done by your Healthcare Provider. He or she will examine a sample of your semen and look at the motility as well as the count and shape (morphology).

Treatment:

  • Clomid – (clomiphene) medication can be used.
  • Varicocele surgery- if the male has a Varicocele
  • Various combinations of vitamin and minerals

 

Resources

http://www.advancedfertility.com/low-sperm-motility.htm

http://answers.webmd.com/answers/2000351/how-is-male-fertility-evaluated

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/low-sperm-count/basics/tests-diagnosis/con-20033441

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