While many of us will be celebrating Father’s Day this weekend, some men (and women) may not find the day so cheerful because they are dealing with male infertility. Male infertility accounts for approximately 40 percent, that’s nearly half, of the more than 2 million married couples suffering from infertility each year (National Institutes of Health).
Infertility is defined by the inability to conceive after at least one year of unprotected intercourse. If pregnancy is not achieved after one year of trying, it may be time to see a doctor.
A complete physical exam, along with bloodwork and semen analysis, are required to accurately diagnose the cause of infertility. The semen analysis can identify sperm issues that may be hindering conception, such as low sperm count, poor movement (motility), and abnormal structure (morphology).
In addition to problems with sperm, other factors that may contribute to male infertility include:
- Varicoceles-the dilation of veins surrounding the testicle
- Retrograde ejaculation-semen pushing backwards into the bladder instead of out of the penis
- Immunologic infertility-a man’s antibodies attacking his own sperm
- Hormonal imbalances or deficiencies
The good news is that many treatments are available for men today to help achieve their goal of starting a family. Medications, surgical procedures, and assisted reproductive technologies (ART), such as intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF), and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), all have tremendous success rates. Your urologist can help tailor the best plan for you and your partner.