Author: Dr. V Ramya, Consultant & Fertility Specialist
Awareness about the fundamental reasons such as possible risk factors and potential causes behind male infertility can help about 1 in 7 couples in managing and resolving male fertility issues.
The ability of the male reproductive system to produce enough healthy sperm and transport them properly is essential to its efficient operation. This system is also concurrently dependent on hormone levels and the right environmental conditions. Any disruption or abnormality in this system could cause male infertility.
Possible causes of male infertility:
From a broader perspective, the causes of male infertility can be identified as biological, physiological, and genetic causes.
1. Sperm Disorders:
Sperm-related causes could be congenital or it could be due to underlying conditions, injuries, and lifestyle choices. A few sperm-related causes for male infertility are:
– Low sperm count (Oligospermia)
– Reduced sperm vitality
– Decreased motility in sperm
– Abnormal sperm function
– Oddly shaped sperm
– Complete absence of sperm (Azoospermia)
– Obstruction within the tubes that prevent sperm delivery
2. Sexual problems:
Conditions such as erectile dysfunction (ED) and ejaculation issues can have an impact on male fertility as well.
– Erectile dysfunction: Erectile dysfunction, also called ED, is characterized by difficulty in maintaining erections during sexual activity.
– Ejaculatory dysfunction: It is quite a common condition among men and is one of the critical fertility issues in younger males.
– Premature Ejaculation: A male ejaculates too soon during sexual activity.
– Delayed Ejaculation: It is a condition wherein a male is unable to achieve an orgasm even after a prolonged period of stimulation.
– Retrograde Ejaculation: In this condition, semen flows back into the bladder rather than being released out of the body.
Ejaculatory issues do not necessarily lead to infertility but a few conditions such as retrograde ejaculation make it difficult to conceive.
This condition is characterized by the presence of enlarged or swollen veins on the testicles. It affects the sperm production process by obstructing proper blood flow to the testes.
4. Autoimmune conditions:
Although, it is not the most common cause of infertility in males, in a few instances the immune system produces antibodies against sperm cells and falsely attacks them and destroys the sperm considering it to be foreign.
5. Birth defects or blockages:
Sometimes due to congenital defects, swelling, physical trauma, repeated infections, or surgery, the tubes through which sperm pass are blocked. This leads to impaired sperm delivery causing fertility issues.
6. Hormones and Hormonal disorders:
Certain disorders that impact the pituitary glands can affect reproductive hormone production such as testosterone, thereby leading to fertility issues.
7. Genetic diseases:
Chromosomal changes can lead to genetic disorders such as cystic fibrosis, which causes fertility issues in males.
8. Sexually transmitted diseases or other infections:
Although rare, sometimes sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea and chlamydia can be one of the causes of male infertility. It can be resolved by seeking proper treatment.
These above-mentioned causes of male infertility are rooted from a multitude of behavioral, socio-demographic, and lifestyle-based risk factors.
1. Behavioral and lifestyle based risk factors include:
– Smoking & alcohol intake
– Excess body weight
– Exposure to recreational drugs
– Unbalanced diet
– Lack of exercise in daily routine
– Improper sleep routine
2. Socio-demographic risk factors include:
– Environmental factors such as exposure to toxins (pesticides, lead, radiation, and radioactive substances)
Take care of the risk factors listed above and make the necessary adjustments and modifications to ensure a healthy and functional reproductive system.
If you are facing any issues conceiving or have any fertility concerns, schedule a consultation with our expert andrologists today.