Male Infertility

Male infertility is diagnosed and treated by the Urology Division of Premier Medical Group. Male infertility is the inability to achieve pregnancy after trying to conceive for at least 1 year is considered infertility. It can affect both men and women and can have a number of different causes. Infertility is actually quite common. According to the National Institutes of Health, male infertility is involved in approximately 40% of the more than 2 million infertile married couples in the United States. One-half of these men experience irreversible infertility and cannot father children, and a small number of these cases are caused by a treatable medical condition.

If you have been trying to conceive for over a year with a female partner who is under the age of 35, or if she is over 35 and you have been trying to conceive for six months, you both should seek an evaluation.

What causes male infertility?

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Some infertility disorders become more difficult to treat the longer they go without treatment. The most common causes for infertility include:

  • Defect or obstruction in the reproductive system
  • Certain diseases and STDs
  • Hormone disorders
  • Infection
  • Medications
  • Injury to the testes
  • Testicular cancer
  • Systemic disease such as a high fever or kidney disease
  • Testosterone deficiency
  • Azoospermia; no or low levels of sperm in the semen
  • Congenital Bilateral Absence of the Vas Deferens (CBAVD)–the vas deferens fail to form properly prior to birth
  • Hypospadia–misplaced urinary opening in the penis
  • Retrograde ejaculation–semen is discharged through the bladder rather than ejaculated through the penis
  • Varicose veins in the scrotum

Just because a medical condition may cause male infertility doesn’t necessarily mean that it will. Moreover, many types of infertility are temporary. Testicular cancer and the treatment for it can both cause infertility, but once cured, many men will regain their fertility, sometimes years after the fact. This is one of the most frequently asked questions for testicular cancer.

What are the symptoms of male infertility?

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You should see a doctor if you have not become pregnant after 1 year of unprotected intercourse an average of three times a week.

How is male infertility diagnosed?

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Male infertility diagnosis usually involves evaluating the couple’s reproductive-fertility history and performing a physical exam and laboratory tests, such as semen analysis.

A semen analysis is used to examine the entire ejaculate, because seminal fluid can affect sperm function and movement. It also measures the amount of semen produced and determines how many viable sperm are found in the semen. Generally, two semen samples are taken at different times to account for variables such as temperature and error.

How is male infertility treated?

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At least one-half of male fertility problems can be treated so that conception is possible. There are three categories of treatment for male infertility: assisted reproduction, drug therapy, and surgery.

  • Assisted reproduction therapy includes methods to improve erectile dysfunction, induce ejaculation, obtain sperm, and inseminate an egg.
  • Drug therapy includes medications to improve sperm production, treat hormonal dysfunction, cure infections that compromise sperm, and fight sperm antibodies.
  • Surgery for male infertility is performed to treat reproductive tract obstruction and varicocele.

How can male infertility be prevented?

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There are many factors that can affect infertility, including lifestyle, genetics, and physiology. All these dynamics can help to explain abnormal sperm shape, low sperm count, and slow sperm.

Some helpful tips for couples trying to conceive:

  • Limit alcohol use: Can affect sperm count and mobility
  • Keep a healthy weight: Both overweight and underweight men can be affected with hormonal imbalances and low sperm count
  • Exercise in moderation, and avoid steroids: Too much exercise can affect your testosterone levels, and steroids can cause Testosterone Deficiency shrinkage
  • Stop smoking cigarettes or marijuana. Smoking can affect low sperm count and also abnormal development of your sperm.
  • Vitamins: Check with your physician on accurate vitamin C and zinc levels. If these are low, they can affect your sperm.
  • Avoid environmental toxins or poisons, including pesticides. All these can affect fertility.

Dr. Jason Krumholtz specializes in male fertility and sees patients in the Poughkeepsie and Fishkill locations.