What is Male Infertility?

Trying for months without a viable pregnancy is called infertility, and it affects millions of Americans.

Male factor infertility is a common experience for couples. In fact, it may be the cause in nearly 50 percent of all infertility cases.

The CDC estimated in 2002 that 7.5 percent of all men younger than 45 who have sexual experience also reported seeing a fertility doctor at some point in their lives.

That figure represents 3.3-4.7 million men, and of those who saw a doctor, about 18 percent were diagnosed with some form of male factor infertility.

Diagnosing Male Fertility

Doctors at a fertility clinic can test male fertility and identify any issues that might be preventing conception.

First, a semen analysis is done to diagnose infertility factors unique to males. An ejaculated semen sample, collected after masturbation, is analyzed in a laboratory.

Several parameters of the sample are studied:

  • Volume
  • Sperm count
  • Sperm motility (the percentage of moving sperm)
  • Sperm morphology (the appearance of the sperm)

What Causes Male Infertility?

There are many possible reasons for abnormal sperm behavior or production, including:

  • Varicoceles – one or more dilated veins around the testicle that raise its core temperature and may impair sperm production
  • Reproductive tract problems that block sperm
  • Chronic conditions or injuries, including diabetes, cystic fibrosis, trauma, and infection
  • Damage from cancer treatments involving chemotherapy or radiation
  • Overconsumption and use of alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, hormones or anabolic steroids, Toxic environmental elements such as pesticides or lead

Increasing Male Fertility

The doctors at Oregon Reproductive Medicine in Portland, Oregon, are experts in male fertility. They identify and treat male and female infertility for individuals and couples and have helped thousands of people conceive.

A varicocele — or enlarged vein on the testicle — is one of the leading causes of male factor infertility, but this condition is easily corrected by ligating (or tying off) the enlarged vein.

Low sperm count or motility can be treated with:

  • Hormone treatment that increases production
  • Intra-uterine insemination (artificial insemination), where sperm is concentrated and injected directly into the uterus
  • In vitro fertilization, where a collected egg is fertilized in a laboratory with isolated sperm cells

In the case of severe male infertility and a complete lack of sperm production, many couples choose to use donor sperm.

Learn More About Male Infertility

You can find out more about how men and couples are successfully treating infertility at a free informational seminar, where doctors from Oregon Reproductive Medicine will answer all your questions and discuss the promising treatments now available.


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