Infertility is a difficult, yet fairly common subject. In reality, it affects around 15 percent of married couples. The number of male infertility cases is still on the rise. The condition of fertility is characterized as a reproductive system disorder, resulting in couples having the inability to conceive a baby, after up to a year or longer after of having sex on a normal basis.
The reasons for not being able to conceive or being infertile can be due to either partner (man or woman). Infertility is not just a women’s issue. When the reproductive system of the male has a problem, which makes it difficult for the couple to have a child, it is termed male infertility. For one in five infertile couples, the problem lies solely in the male partner.
The majority of couples experiencing problems with fertility are able to receive an explanation for their infertility. These physical and psychological problems and causes range from low sperm count, poor sperm motility, hormonal imbalances, blocked fallopian tubes, low libido, stress, conditions such as erectile dysfunction (ED), etc. Once the causes for infertility have been established the appropriate course of treatment is usually determined. However, knowing the cause of infertility was not always the case. For almost one third of couples, until today, there would sometimes be no obvious cause for infertility, resulting in a diagnosis of “unexplained infertility” for these couples.
Couples who experience infertility sometimes go through the grueling process of investing a lot of time and money in fertility treatments like intrauterine insemination (IUI) or In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), sometimes not always being successful. There are new medical techniques that allow couples to have a chance more than ever to find out the cause of their infertility, that will direct them straight to the best treatment and increase their chances of having a baby. Here are some unexpected causes of male infertility:
· Genetic Problems (Gene mutations or chromosomal issues)
· Hyperprolactinemia: Hyperprolactinemia is a condition in which a person has higher-than-normal levels of the hormone prolactin in the blood.
· Hypogonadism: A condition in which the body doesn’t produce enough testosterone. This has informally been labeled the “male menopause.” Completely treatable.
· Eating a large amount of processed meats: A study by the American Society for Reproductive Health showed that out of 141 men going through IVF procedures with their partners, those who consumed the least amount of processed meat had a 28 percent higher fertilization rate (82 percent chance of conceiving a child), where those who loved eating processed meats, had a 54 percent chance, and were considered to have a high chance of infertility.
· Lube: Lubricants are used to have sex be more pleasurable, but research has found that many of the brand-name products including lube and condoms that contain lube, were shown to reduce sperm mobility levels.
At Ironwood Urology, men’s health concerns are our specialty, from prostate health to reproductive concerns. To learn more about infertility and its causes, call urologist Dr. Desi Avila at (480) 961-2323, or request an appointment online.