Conceiving a baby is not as easy as you think, especially for every 1 out of 10 couples who experience infertility. A couple is considered to have infertility issues when they try for a year without success. This means they aren’t able to conceive a child, even though they’ve had frequent, unprotected sex for a year or longer. Male infertility is due to low sperm production, abnormal sperm function, or blockages that prevent the delivery of sperm.
There was a time when people thought infertility only happens to women, but men can have fertility problems, too. When a couple is having a hard time getting pregnant, it is as likely to be caused by a problem with male fertility as it is with female fertility. That’s why both the woman and the man usually get tested for fertility problems when a couple is dealing with infertility issues.
First, it’s important to know that it can take up to a year for a woman to get pregnant. This is considered normal. Most health care providers suggest waiting a year before seeking infertility testing. If you and your partner have been trying to get pregnant for more than a year, it may be time to see your healthcare provider.
Some health problems may reduce a man’s ability to get a woman pregnant. You may want to see a health care provider sooner if you have a history of:
- Cystic fibrosis
- Injury or trauma to the scrotum and testes
- Problems getting an erection
- Problems ejaculating
Male infertility can be caused by various reasons, but the most common causes of male infertility are related to sperm — usually problems with sperm count and the quality of that sperm. Sperm-related problems include:
- low sperm count
- sperm that don’t move quickly enough — they die before they reach the egg
- sperm that are not formed correctly
- seminal fluid that is too thick — sperm can’t move around in it very easily
- no sperm
Sperm-related problems may result from too much or too little of some of the hormones that guide sperm making.
Another cause of male infertility is a problem with ejaculation. In some cases, tubes inside the male reproductive organs are blocked. If so, you may have a hard time ejaculating, or nothing comes out when you have an orgasm.
In some cases, there is no known reason for someone’s infertility. This is called unexplained infertility. This can be a very frustrating diagnosis. But even if you are diagnosed with unexplained male infertility, you still have treatment options to consider.
Certain activities can increase infertility such as radiation treatment for cancer, excessive drugs or alcohol or cigarette use, frequent exposure to pesticides and leads, or an injury to the scrotum or testes.
While male infertility can be a frustrating and scary problem, there is treatment available. In the Philippines, available cure can depend on the level of the infertility problem.
Pre-testicular may be cured by hormone therapy and the like. Testicular and Post-testicular infertility can be cured by hospitals who offer treatment such as Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI).
Men with mild to moderate sperm problems or testicular level can conceive a baby through IUI, where their sperm is “washed” and directly injected to their ovulating woman.
ICSI is for men with severe sperm problems or post-testicular, as it directly retrieves some sperm from the man’s testicles before injecting into the egg cell.
Depending on the reason for male infertility, the length and type of treatment used will vary. If you are someone who may feel you are dealing with infertility, please consult with a doctor.