Beyond the Stereotype: Understanding Male Infertility
Infertility is not limited to women alone. Studies show that nearly a quarter of fertility issues actually stem from male factors. Despite historical perceptions that blamed women for a couple's inability to conceive, medical advancements today reveal that infertility affects both sexes. So, what causes male infertility? Let's delve into this topic further.
What is male infertility?
Male infertility refers to the inability of a man to make his female partner pregnant. In the medical field, infertility is defined as the failure to get pregnant after one year of unprotected sex.
Around 1 in 6 couples have fertility problems. When the couple receive examinations and the result determines that the problem is with the man, male infertility will be diagnosed. The most common cause is low sperm count.
Causes of male infertility
Problems with sexual function: Difficulty with ejaculation that hinders semen from entering the vagina; erectile dysfunction that disrupts the completion of sex.
Congenital factors: Some men have impaired sperm production due to heredity or congenital diseases, such as cryptorchidism, severe testicular hypoplasia and small testicles. In most cases, patients can ejaculate but the semen contains few or no sperms.
Acquired factors: Hormonal imbalance, orchitis, chronic diseases, varicocele and vas deferens blockage can affect fertility.
Environment and lifestyle: Wearing tight pants for long periods, elevated temperature and smoking and drinking can affect sperm condition and trigger infertility.
Patients should follow the doctor’s instructions and receive examinations including semen analysis, sperm function tests, blood and urine tests, hormone blood tests, genetic tests and testicular biopsy to identify the causes and facilitate targeted treatment. The doctor may recommend hormone treatments or steroids depending on the patient’s condition. In some cases, assisted reproductive technologies, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), may be employed to increase the chances of pregnancy.