Male Infertility, causes and treatment

Decline in the motility of sperm cells have been associated to secondary infertility.
Sperm are made in the testicles. They’re then stored inside yards of “plumbing” called the epididymis, which lies on top of each testicle. Sperm are nourished by semen, which is made by glands along the way. When the magic moment arrives, about 150 million sperm are ejaculated in a half-teaspoon of semen through the penis.

Causes
About two-thirds of infertile men have a problem with making sperm in the testes. Either low numbers of sperm are made and/or the sperm that are made do not work properly.
Sperm transport problems are found in about one in every five infertile men, including men who have had a vasectomy but now wish to have more children. Blockages (often referred to as obstructions) in the tubes leading sperm away from the testes to the penis can cause a complete lack of sperm in the ejaculated semen.

Other less common causes of infertility include: sexual problems that affect whether semen is able to enter the woman’s vagina for fertilisation to take place (one in 100 infertile couples); low levels of hormones made in the pituitary gland that act on the testes (one in 100 infertile men); and sperm antibodies (found in one in 16 infertile men). In most men sperm antibodies will not affect the chance of a pregnancy but in some men sperm antibodies reduce fertility
This whole process hinges on there being proper levels of testosterone and other hormones as well as correct signaling from the nervous system.

Sometimes, making sperm isn’t the problem. The problem is getting the sperm where they need to go. Men with this type of male infertility have normal sperm in the testicles. But the sperm in the semen are either abnormal, very low in number, or not there at all. Causes of this kind of infertility include:

  • Retrograde ejaculation: In this condition, semen ejaculates backwards into the bladder instead of out the penis. Usually previous surgery is the cause.

  • Absence of the main sperm pipeline known as the vas deferens. This condition is a genetic problem.

  • Obstruction. An obstruction can occur anywhere in the plumbing between the testicles and the penis.

  • Anti-sperm antibodies. Antibodies can abnormally attack a man’s own sperm on their way to the egg.
    Up to 25% of infertile men have idiopathic infertility. That means they have abnormal or low sperm counts for no identifiable reason.

Below are some common male infertility treatments.

  • Varicoceles are repaired with surgery to block off the abnormal veins. This seems to result in a significant improvement in fertility, although some studies disagree.

  • Hormonal abnormalities can sometimes be treated with medicine or surgery.

  • Obstructions in the sperm transport plumbing can sometimes be surgically corrected.

  • Anti-sperm antibodies. Antibodies can abnormally attack a man’s own sperm on their way to the egg.

When all these fails, then ART (Assisted Reproductive Techniques) will be suggested.