Infertility is described as an inability to achieve pregnancy after 1 year of sexual activity without contraception. Infertility occurs in 10 to 15% of all couples. Fertility depends on the production of normal quantities of healthy sperm, ability to achieve an erection and ejaculation of sperm into the vagina during sexual intercourse. About 30 to 40% of infertility causes can be attributed to male partners.
FREQUENT SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Failure to impregnate a fertile woman.
- Anatomical abnormalities of the penis or testicles, including undescended testicles.
- Excessive alcohol intake.
- Urinary-tract infection.
- Hormone disturbance.
- Endocrine disorders.
- Severe chronic or metabolic disorders (such as uremia or cirrhosis).
- Use of some drugs, such as antihypertensives, cytotoxic drugs, male hormones and MSO inhibitors.
- Sexually transmitted disease, especially syphilis and nonspecific urethritis that causes scarring.
- Ijury to the genitals.
- Varicose veins in the testicles (varicocele).
- Psychological reasons, such as fear o infertility.
- Overheating of the testicles caused by vigorous, repetitive exercise or underwear that is too tight and holds the testicles too close to the body (possible).
- Intercourse problems, e.g. premature withdrawal, poor timing with menses, too infrequent.
- Ejaculatory dysfunction.
- Exposure to insecticides or industrial chemicals.
RISK INCREASES WITH
- Diabetes mellitus.
- Poor nutrition and poor general health.
- Cigarette smoking.
Any specific preventive measures depend on the cause.
Some fertility problems are minor and reversible. Often, no clear cause for infertility is found. Approach treatment with optimism.
Psychological distress caused by feelings of guilt, inadequacy, and loss of self-esteem.
- Laboratory studies, such as blood studies of hormones and semen analysis (to determine quality, quantity, form, and motility).
- Surgical diagnostic procedures such as testicular biopsy.
- Special tests of sperm function and quality are available at major infertility centers.
- Psychotherapy or counseling for sexual therapy techniques, marital problems or alcoholism.
- Surgery to correct anatomical abnormalities of the reproductive system, e.g. varicocelectomy (surgery for varicocele).
- Heat may decrease sperm production in the testicles. To prevent this: Don’t wear tight underwear or athletic supporters that hold the testicles too close to the body, don’t take hot baths, avoid long bicycle rides.
- Have sexual intercourse during the time your partner is ovulating. Don’t ejaculate for 3 days prior to intercourse. Intercourse should occur every 36 hours during the fertile period.
- Consider other methods for initiating a pregnancy; artificial insemination of washed concentrated sperm; donor insemination if no remedy is presently available; intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) whereby a single sperm is injected into a single egg and the resulting zygote is transferred to the uterus.
Medication may be prescribed depending on the cause of infertility.
Work and exercise moderately. Over exercising can be a factor in infertility. Rest when you tire.
Eat normal, well-balanced diet. Increased intake of zinc, vitamin C and vitamin E is sometimes recommended.