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What are the most common causes of infertility in men and options for treatment?

15.1.2021 · 3 min reading
What are the most common causes of infertility in men and options for treatment? thumbnail

The issue of male infertility is often overlooked because the attention of most couples focuses on female infertility, which receives more coverage in the media Paradoxically, both partners contribute to problems conceiving almost equally. At the same time, male fertility can be tested more easily than female fertility and in many cases can be treated effectively.

What is the most common cause of infertility in men?

The ability to fertilise the egg is mainly affected by the quantity and quality of sperm. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 40 million sperm in 1 ml of ejaculate are currently considered normal. Ejaculate with less than 15 million sperm per millilitre is classified as unsatisfactory. The quality of sperm is determined by their morphology, motility and ability to fertilise the egg. These parameters can be easily analysed by examining the patient’s spermiogram (semen analysis). Testicular damage and dysfunction due to infection or oncological treatment can also have a negative effect on male fertility. In these cases, it is recommended that all men have their sperm frozen before starting cancer treatment. Genetic make-up is usually fixed, but lifestyle is one of the most easily influenced and at the same time most important factors that can affect fertility. Excessive consumption of alcohol, obesity and lack of exercise, risky sexual behaviour or the use of steroids can significantly reduce male fertility.

Age and mental health also play a role in male fertility.

Though men do not enter a natural phase of infertility like women and may theoretically produce offspring well into their old age, their reproductive capacity decreases at around the age of 40 and the quality of sperm begins to deteriorate significantly henceforth. Moreover, almost 40% of men over the age of 40 have an increased number of dying sperm, which also results in a reduction in sperm numbers. At the same time, the number of pathological sperm increases and male fertility and self-confidence are at stake. Paradoxically, it is this situation that leads to an impasse, because the psyche plays a relatively important role in the effort to conceive. Men who feel ever-increasing pressure due to their age, provoking negative thoughts, feelings of being threatened or awareness of their own inability, will find fathering a child more difficult.

How to boost male fertility?

There are a number of ways to successfully improve a man’s ability to father a child. One of these is to increase the intake of vitamins and trace elements, which positively improve fertility. These include selenium, zinc, calcium and vitamins E, A and C. A change of lifestyle, reducing stressful situations, smoking and alcohol consumption will also help. Looser underwear and regular sporting activities and walks also play a role. Rest, relaxation and good quality sleep should become a part of everyday life.

Treatment begins with a test to determine the number and quality of sperm

The fertility clinic requires a sample of the patient’s ejaculate for this purpose, which is then analysed and further steps are considered based on the results. However, this must always be prepared fresh for analysis, because sperm will die after a certain time when exposed to air. The EUROPE IVF International Fertility Clinic in Prague has a discreet room for the collection of ejaculate with the option of submitting the sample through a side window. Thus, there’s no need to worry about having to walk through a corridor full of waiting patients with your sample. If the test shows a low sperm count or other similar abnormality, the doctor will suggest a suitable course of action, which he feels should lead to the successful fulfilment of the patient’s desire for his own offspring.

Modern treatment of male infertility provides very good results

The negative effects of male infertility may be mitigated by focusing on its root causes. In case of a hormonal disorder or inflammation, specific preparations are administered, while physical causes can be addressed with microsurgery. If, despite all efforts, it is not possible to determine why a man cannot father offspring, the alternative is to fertilise the egg by means of assisted reproduction. This will help men with low sperm motility and a low sperm count. If there are no sperm or there is a significant reduction in the number of sperm in the patient’s semen, sperm can be obtained using a special method, in which fluid containing sperm is aspirated directly from the epididymis (PESA, MESA methods) or from the germinal tissue of the testis (TESE method). Thanks to these methods, many men who could not become fathers have had the opportunity to welcome their own child into the world.

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