You may be surprised the learn that male-factor fertility is just as common in overall infertility cases as female-factor fertility. In fact, one-third of fertility cases are attributed equally to males and females, with the remaining third classified as “unexplained” infertility.
Women have become so used to assuming that they are solely responsible for the inability to conceive that they will readily seek testing and treatment before the male partner is even considered.
Although understandable, this line of thought is no longer realistically applicable within modern family building. When male fertility issues occur as often as female fertility issues, the male partner must be included in the conversation from the beginning, not as an afterthought.
What can cause male infertility?
Just like female infertility, male infertility has a variety of causes. Previous medical issues, sexual history and hormone levels are all possible sources of a fertility issue in men. Specific examples include:
• Previous cancer treatment such as chemotherapy and/or radiation
• Low levels of hormones such as FSH, testosterone or prolactin
• Certain STDs
• Mumps post-puberty
• Groin injury
• Spinal injury
• Hernia repair
• Steroid use
What is male infertility testing?
Male infertility testing most often begins with a standard semen analysis. Resolve explains that a semen analysis will look to test a man’s sperm count, motility (ability to move, or “swim”), size and shape, velocity (forward progression), total semen volume, and liquification (change from a gel-like state to a liquid state).
This analysis is performed at a physician’s office or laboratory setting.
How long should I wait to seek male fertility care?
• If you are unable to conceive naturally – In cases where the female partner is under 35 years old, couples should wait one year before seeking a fertility consultation. In cases where the female partner is 35 years old or older, couples should wait six months before seeking a fertility consultation.
• If you have a recent spinal cord or groin injury – In cases where you are concerned about future fertility, seek a fertility consultation to determine if sperm freezing is appropriate to ensure future family planning goals.
• If you are facing a recent cancer diagnosis – In cases where chemotherapy and/or radiation is needed, seek a fertility consultation to determine if sperm freezing is appropriate.