When people think of infertility, most usually think of female fertility problems. However, close to 30% of all fertility problems are caused by issues related to male fertility alone, and another 30% are caused by a combination of male and female fertility issues. As you can see, male fertility issues are a big part of fertility problems, and much like female fertility issues, the causes and reasons can be many and varied. This article is going to explore some of the most common causes and reasons for male infertility.
1. Sperm Issues
One of the most common causes of male fertility issues is problems with the sperm. For example, some men have a low sperm count, and others have poor sperm motility. This means that the sperm do not swim very well, which causes fertility problems. Still other men have sperm that are misshapen, damaged or irregular. This is referred to as poor sperm quality.
2. Blockage Issues
In men, a blockage in the vas deferens can keep the sperm from getting where they need to be. This is similar to what happens when a man gets a vasectomy, but of course, a blockage from a fertility issue is not caused on purpose. Most sperm blockages in the vas deferens can be reversed through surgery, however, so that is good news.
3. Varicocele Issues
Varicocele issues occur when a man has an enlarged vein in the scrotum. This enlarged vein can cause the temperature of the testicles to increase, and likewise, this can damage sperm. Luckily, varicocele surgery is very successful and is usually able to correct the problem easily.
4. Sperm Delivery Issues
Sometimes, male infertility is caused by issues related to sperm delivery. These problems are most commonly linked to sexual problems such as premature ejaculation, semen entering the bladder instead of emerging through the penis during orgasm (retrograde ejaculation), certain genetic diseases, such as cystic fibrosis, structural problems, such as blockage of the part of the testicle that contains sperm (epididymis), or damage or injury to the reproductive organs. There are various surgical procedures and assisted reproductive techniques for men who suffer from these types of disorders.
5. Chemicals and Toxins
In rare cases, male infertility problems can be caused by overexposure to certain chemicals or toxins found in the environment. Tobacco use, alcohol use, illegal drug or steroid use, radiation, chemical exposure, pesticides, and exposure to too much heat, such as saunas or hot tubs, can all lead to infertility. On a related note, medications and therapies used to treat cancer, like chemotherapy and radiation are also things that can cause male fertility problems.