An overview of male infertility risk factors
Identifying male infertility risk factors is very important in the evaluation of a couple struggling with infertility. Our San Antonio fertility experts know that male factor is a primary cause of fertility challenges in approximately 30% of couples and a contributing factor in an additional 20% of couples who face issues conceiving.
Understanding semen analysis
In addition to a man’s medical and reproductive history, our San Antonio fertility experts usually request a semen analysis to evaluate the quantity and quality of the sperm.
Following two to five days of abstinence, the male partner provides a semen specimen in a cup. He can also produce a sample during intercourse and collect it in a special condom that is non-toxic to sperm. The sperm are then counted and evaluated in a standardized fashion.
In order to determine male infertility risk factors, a typical semen analysis will evaluate the number of sperm present in each mL of semen, the percent of sperm that are alive and moving and the percent of normally shaped sperm. It will also determine if there is evidence of infection.
Male infertility risk factors include lifestyle factors
A number of lifestyle choices can increase the risk of male infertility. When effectively addressed, these can lead to significant improvements in sperm parameters.
- Use of any nicotine negatively influences sperm function.
- Excessive alcohol consumption (more than two drinks per day) can lead to poor sperm quality or function.
- Recreational drug use, especially marijuana, can decrease sperm production by decreasing testosterone levels.
- The use of any type of anabolic steroids, including testosterone creams/gels/injections or even certain hair treatments such as Rogaine™ or Propecia™, can lower sperm production. In some cases, the use of testosterone can cause permanent changes in sperm production. If a man has low testosterone and needs supplementation, he should visit a fertility urologist to discuss options such as clomiphene or HCG rescue.
Low sperm count can cause male infertility
Our San Antonio fertility experts often see low sperm count as a cause of male infertility. Some men with very low sperm counts (<5 million) have male infertility risk factors related to their general health. Uncontrolled diabetes and hypertension can have a negative effect on sperm production. Other men with low sperm counts have enlarged veins around their testicles that are called varicoceles.
Men with very low sperm counts are also at an increased risk of having abnormal chromosomes. Our physicians can evaluate this risk with a simple blood test. It is important for men with very low sperm counts to be seen by a fertility specialist so that any identifiable abnormality can be successfully treated.
Male infertility risk factors summary
If you are concerned about your fertility, our San Antonio fertility experts will order a semen analysis. The physicians at TFC will then be able to assist you in making the most of your reproductive potential so that you can achieve your goal of having a child
Contact us to schedule an appointment and learn more about male infertility risk factors.