15 Feb Fertility in men, what is it and how is it affected?
Sometimes, when a couple cannot conceive, it is believed that it is the woman who may have a fertility problem. But not in every case, men can also suffer from infertility, for different reasons. Currently, 1 of every 7 couples are infertile, and it is important to know the reasons to be able, as a fertility clinic, to help you fulfill your dream.
In the world of fertility, the male factor plays a fundamental role, so in half of the cases in which we find ourselves, the male factor is involved in problems when conceiving. 20% is usually the only responsible, and between 30 and 40% is related to female factors.
The fertility of men, in the last three decades, has been progressively worsening. Generally, a decrease in both the number and mobility of spermatozoa is identified. The cause? There are diseases or multiple causes that can cause this decrease.
For example, when it comes to a low number of sperm, we can find ourselves facing these causes:
- Abnormal testicle development (testicular hypogonadism)
- Genetic alterations.
- No presence of geminal cells.
Men who have undergone chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or who have lost their testicles due to cancer or another problem may also suffer from decreased sperm quality.
On the other hand, decreased mobility is also a factor that can cause infertility in a man. But why does this reduction occur? For several reasons:
- Due to stress.
- Due to the consumption of certain medications (mostly not in a permanent way, such as painkillers) or toxic drugs, such as marijuana or heroin.
- Veins enlargement located in the testicles, a problem called a varicocele.
- Increased heat, which can occur in saunas, for example. This factor affects the production and optimal functioning of sperm.
Other factors that can cause infertility problems can be:
- Environmental factors (high temperatures, chemical substances, contamination).
- Problems in the ejaculation ducts due to obstruction.
- Genetic diseases.
- Erection problems.
- Premature ejaculation before entering the vagina.
- Pain, swelling, lumps in the testicles
On the other hand, as our biologist Aina Canyelles states in her professional assisted reproduction blog, lifestyle plays a great role in the quality of a man’s sperm. As we mentioned at the beginning, in the last 30 years the quality of semen has been decreasing, a fact that has urged the WHO to update the normal values.
The cause is probably the lifestyle we have today: the diet we follow, the consumption of alcohol and tobacco, or other drugs, pollution or leading a sedentary life. So, the first thing to change is your day-to-day habits.
And you may ask yourself, does age also affect fertility, as in the case of women? Well, although the studies have not come to anything clear, it is true that the results of the seminal parameters, in an older age, worsen, since they can affect the genome, the ejaculated volume, the sperm mobility or the concentration.
The seminogram, the essential tool for male fertility
Sperm contains a lot of information, and these data also include those that allow us to know what the reproductive capacity of sperm is like, what the quality of the semen is, and the state of the glands of the reproductive system. And how can semen be analyzed? Through the seminogram, or also called basic semen analysis.
This tool allows men to carry out a macroscopic and microscopic examination. With the first analysis you can observe the color, the smell, the liquefaction, the viscosity, the volume or the pH. It is the WHO that establishes what are the normal parameters in a spermogram, updated in 2010. As for the microscopic analysis, we know the concentration, motility, morphology and vitality of the sperm.
To perform this analysis with this tool, it is necessary that the man has not ejaculated for between 2 and 7 days (without sexual intercourse or masturbation). On the other hand, to obtain more effective information, it will be important to carry out two seminograms within one month of each other. In addition to being able to complete this analysis with other tests.
To learn more about the seminogram, you can read the article that we published on our blog a few months ago about this very effective tool.
If you have not been able to conceive for more than a year, we recommend that you come to our consultation and we will carry out the pertinent tests to be able to find the problem you may have, both in men and women, in the case of heterosexual couples. Contact us to request your first appointment.