Infertility is a common problem for males. Conception is a complicated process and there are many obstacles. Fortunately, if you have infertility issues, that doesn’t automatically mean that you won’t be able to have your own child with your partner. There are treatments and procedures that can increase the chances of conception.
Infertility is a problem with your reproductive system that stops you from impregnating a female. If a male and a female have repeated unprotected sex for over a year and the female doesn’t get pregnant then you, she, or both of you may have infertility issues.
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Infertility is a common issue, with more than five million couples in the United States dealing with this problem. Infertility affects one in every six couples who are trying to conceive. In at least half of all cases of infertility, a male factor is a major or contributing cause. This means that about 10% of all males in the United States who are attempting to conceive suffer from infertility.
No. Conception is a complicated process that depends on many factors:
Finally, for the pregnancy to continue to full term, the embryo must be healthy and the female’s hormonal environment adequate for its development. When just one of these factors is impaired, infertility can happen.
Some males are more likely than others to experience infertility. You might be more likely if:
Many biological and environmental factors can impact your fertility. Possibilities include:
The infertility itself is the symptom. However, it’s much more difficult to describe the negative psychological and emotional symptoms infertility has on a couple who wants to have children. Many times, conceiving a child becomes the total focus of their lives. Feelings of depression, loss, grief, inadequacy and failure are common in males as well as females seeking pregnancy.
Individuals or couples experiencing any of these feelings may want to seek professional help from healthcare providers like a therapist or psychiatrist experienced in dealing with infertility issues. Such providers can help you deal realistically with the situation and provide support even while you are going through treatment.
Diagnosis begins with a complete physical examination to determine your general state of health and identify any physical problems that may impact your fertility. Your healthcare provider may also interview both you and your partner about your sexual habits. If the physical examination and history don’t indicate any reason for your inability to conceive, the next step may be to conduct testing to identify the cause of infertility.
First, your healthcare provider may do a semen analysis. It determines the following:
Next, your healthcare provider may do a detailed sperm analysis, which examines your sperms’:
Other possible tests include:
Ask your primary healthcare provider to refer you to an urologist who specializes in male infertility. You may also work with a reproductive endocrinologist.
With modern technology and methods, the number of treatment options for male infertility has expanded. Depending on the cause of infertility, treatments may include:
In intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), a single sperm is injected into an egg in a special culture medium. This illustration shows the development of an embryo following fertilization of the egg using ICSI.
If your infertility is affected by lifestyle choices such as smoking and working around certain chemicals, you might be able to reduce your risk. Talk to your healthcare provider about other risk factors and what you can do about them.
If you’re going to go through cancer treatment, talk to your healthcare provider about sperm banking.
Just because you have issues with infertility, that doesn’t mean you’ll never be able to have your own child. There are treatment options. If you work together with your partner and an urologist, you can increase your chances of conception.
Male infertility requires treatment in most cases.
If you and your partner have been unable to get pregnant after a year of trying, see your healthcare provider. See a therapist or psychiatrist if you’re struggling with mental health problems.
Don’t hesitate to ask your healthcare provider questions about infertility. Some to consider include:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Remember that about 10% of all males in the United States who are attempting to conceive suffer from infertility. You are not alone in your struggle. Because of modern technology, 90% of all infertile males have the potential to conceive their own genetic child. There are treatments for the causes of infertility, lifestyle changes you can make to prevent infertility and there are surgeries and procedures to try. Remember to speak to a healthcare provider if you and your partner haven’t been able to conceive after a year of unprotected sex.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/26/2021.
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