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Home Useful Information Male Infertility

Roughly 10% of couples trying for a child experience infertility. This infertility can be due to factors involving the male or female; sometimes both.

What is male infertility?
When a couple is unable to conceive a child, or has great difficulty doing so due to issues relating to the man's reproductive system, it is considered male infertility. In order for a man to be considered fertile, his testicles must be able to produce adequate numbers of sperm. The sperm must then be able to be expelled from the body through ejaculation into the vagina. From there, the sperm must be able to travel through the cervix and into the fallopian tubes to join with a female's egg. If any of these factors are impaired, it may result in infertility.

What causes male infertility?
Male infertility can be due to a large range of factors including inadequate sperm production, misshapen sperm, immobile sperm, blockages in the reproductive tract, illnesses, injuries, health conditions and lifestyle choices.

What are the symptoms of male infertility?
Some symptoms of male infertility include the inability of a couple to conceive, sexual dysfunctions (difficulty climaxing or maintaining an erection), pain or swelling in the testicles, decreased bodily hair or other hormonal problems.

What kind of tests can be done to determine male fertility?
When male infertility is suspected, a physical examination and semen analysis may offer more insight. During a physical examination, the physician is able to examine and evaluate the genitalia for any signs of abnormalities, as well as collect a detailed medical and sexual history that may provide insight to the cause of the infertility. Next, the physician may want to perform a semen analysis to evaluate the amount, shape, and mobility of sperm. If nothing concerning is found, the physician may recommend the woman be checked. If anything of concern arises during the examination or semen analysis, the physician may recommend other tests, such as an ultrasound of the scrotum, a transrectal ultrasound, hormone blood testing, post-ejaculatory urinalysis, genetic testing, biopsy of the testicles, anti-sperm antibody tests, vasography, and specialized sperm functioning tests.

Are there treatments available for male infertility?
There are treatments available for male infertility. If male infertility is due to a structural problem or blockage, surgery may be able to correct the issue. If an infection is present, treating the infection with antibiotics or antivirals may improve or restore fertility. If the man is experiencing sexual dysfunctions, treating these through medications and/or therapy may improve fertility as well. If the problem is related to the man's hormones, hormone replacement therapy may improve fertility. If none of these treatments improve or restore fertility, it is possible for the man and his partner to undergo ART, or artificial reproductive technology in order to conceive a child.

Some men turn to supplements in hope of improving their fertility without the use of medications or invasive procedures. Some common supplements thought to aid male fertility include vitamin C, zinc, selenium, vitamin E, vitamin B-12 and Asian ginseng.