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Infertility and treatment

What causes male infertility and how to prevent it

Nach Cryos | 11/11/2018
Man looking at the sea thinking about male infertility

Up to 1 in 5 couples have difficulties getting pregnant. Often, people believe that the cause is the woman’s fertility. However, problems with male fertility can also be the cause. In fact, studies suggest that 20 % of men have reduced sperm quality which can lead to problems becoming a father.

What does male infertility mean?

Male infertility means that the man has a fertility issue that causes problems getting his partner pregnant. There are often no other signs of male infertility other than the failure to conceive. If you have fertility problems, we can recommend you to read our blog post on how to cope with infertility.

The overall reasons for infertility in men is a problem with the man’s sperm. It could be low sperm motility, abnormal sperms cells or a complete lack of sperm cells. A sperm analysis can help you to know if there is a problem with your sperm quality.

After making a sperm sample, laboratory technicians can determine sperm quality by looking at the sperm cells’ ability to move as well as their size and shape. The sperm count is the number of sperm cells in a sample. This is also referred to as sperm motility or MOT. If the number is lower than 15 million sperm cells per millilitre sperm, you have a low sperm count (WHO). However, the quality of sperm can vary over time and luckily, poor sperm quality and low sperm count can be a temporary issue.

In this video, Allan Pacey, who is an expert in male infertility, talks about the number of men who experience problems with fertility and how men experience this.

What causes male infertility?

There are several factors which can influence a man’s ability to conceive. In some cases, you can improve your sperm quality by changing your lifestyle.

The lifestyle factors that can compromise male fertility are alcohol, cigarettes and especially marihuana. We know that they all have a negative effect on fertility. Likewise, too little or even too much exercise can have a negative influence on male fertility. Weight is also a factor. Both overweight and underweight can be harmful to sperm quality and can cause male infertility.     

Apart from lifestyle factors, a previous history of sexually transmitted diseases, hormonal disorders, cancer treatment and genetic including other factors can be the reason for male infertility (americanpregnancy.org).

Male infertility sperm test

How to improve your sperm quality

If you experience infertility due to lifestyle factors, there are several things you can do to improve your fertility. For example, smoking, drinking and the level of exercise are all things you can moderate.

When it comes to smoking and drinking, you may benefit from quitting completely when you are trying to make a baby.

A healthy diet and a reasonable level of exercise can help to balance your weight, which can improve your sperm quality and give you better chances of conceiving a child.

It may take up to three months before a change in lifestyle visibly improves your sperm quality, so it is best to start improving your lifestyle when you begin to think about trying for a baby.

What are the options if you experience infertility as a man?

If you have tried to conceive without success for a year, you should visit your doctor or a fertility clinic. They can perform some examinations and help you understand the problem that causes your issue. If a sperm analysis reveals poor sperm quality and/or a low sperm count, you may still be able to have a child through fertility treatment such as IVF.

Infertility in men and donor sperm

If other treatment methods do not work, you and your partner may choose to use donor sperm. If you decide to use donor sperm, both you and your partner will have the parental rights of the child. Although the man will not be genetically related to the child, the child is raised with love from both parents. Here you can read the story about Toyah and Ricardo who used donor sperm to have three boys.

If you are interested in knowing more about men and infertility, we recommend you visit all-about-fertility.com, where you can read articles written by fertility experts and ask questions anonymously in the forum. If you want a quick overview, we have gathered 5 articles on male infertility here.