Male infertility is one factor that may make it difficult for couples to conceive. Since the sperm are unable to fertilize the egg, these couples must look for alternative ways to either increase male fertility or assist fertilization process. There are many reasons why men experience fertility problems, but there are also many different methods used to treat and overcome male infertility.
Causes of Male Infertility
A number of different things, including low sperm count, poor sperm motility or problems with the reproductive organs, can cause problems with male fertility. The following are just a few of the major causes of male infertility.
- Low Sperm Count: In a typical male, there are more than 20 million sperm contained in one milliliter of semen. Men with a much lower number are said to have low sperm count, which can be caused by a number of different factors. Stress, environmental factors, poor nutrition, smoking and drugs can potentially inhibit sperm count and lead to male infertility.
- Poor Sperm Motility: In order to reach the egg, sperm need to be able to swim a considerable distance before penetrating the outer wall of the ovum. In some men, sperm lack the necessary motility to complete both of these tasks.
- STDs and Infection: Sexually transmitted diseases and infections can also seriously impair male fertility. Men with semen with unusual appearance, smell or consistency should consult a physician to learn of any possible STD or infection problems that might impair their fertility.
Overcoming Male Infertility
While male infertility can make it difficult to conceive, there are steps that couples can take to improve fertility and achieve pregnancy. Lifestyle and diet changes can often help improve sperm counts and motility. However, these are still not sufficient in some cases.
For individuals who have been trying unsuccessfully to conceive for a period of time, artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization are two procedures that can help. During artificial insemination, the sperm are placed on the women’s cervix or uterus to aid in conception. In vitro fertilization involves fertilizing the egg in a lab and then implanting it directly into the uterus.