Important fertility information

Cause of male infertility

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Male infertility can be caused in men by factors such as hormone disorders, illness, reproductive anatomy trauma and obstruction, and sexual dysfunction. These factors can temporarily or permanently affect sperm and prevent conception. Some disorders become more difficult to treat the longer they persist without infertility treatment.

Male Infertility Causes and Risk Factors

  • Cryptorchidism: is the absence of one or both testes from the scrotum, or the failure of testes to descend that can impair spermatogenesis (the creation of sperm).
  • Cystic fibrosis: is a hereditary disease affecting the exocrine (mucus) glands of the lungs, liver, pancreas, and intestines, causing progressive disability due to multisystem failure. It may cause absence of the seminal tract such as the epididymis, vas deferens, or seminal vesicles.
  • Drugs: any recreational drugs or prescription medications. Certain drugs used to treat hypertension, arthritis, and digestive disease, as well as chemotherapy drugs are associated with sperm production problems and infertility.
  • Ductal obstruction or Obstructive Azoospermia: a complete absence of or reduction of sperm from the ejaculate due to an obstruction in the Vas Deferns or tubes leading from the testes to the urethra preventing sperm from entering the vagina.
  • Hemochromatosis: is a hereditary disease characterized by excessive absorption of dietary iron resulting in a pathological increase in total body iron stores. Excess iron accumulates in tissues and organs disrupting their normal function. In this case excessive iron deposits in the testes interferes with normal sexual function and sperm quality.
  • Male hormone dysfunction or Andropause: an abnormal or distinct lessening of the secretion of testosterone from the testes.
  • Prostatitis: a bacterial or non-bacterial inflammation of the prostate gland.
  • Retrograde Ejaculation: occurs when the fluid to be ejaculated, which would normally exit the body via the urethra, is redirected to the urinary bladder. Normally, the sphincter of the bladder contracts and the ejaculate goes to the urethra, the area of least pressure. In retrograde ejaculation, this sphincter does not function properly.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STD): such as Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, herpes Simplex etc. can damage the reproductive organs. * Sickle cell anemia: a life-long blood disorder characterized by red blood cells that assume an abnormal, rigid, sickle shape. Sickling decreases the cells' flexibility and results in a risk of various complications such as hypogonadism or a deficiency in the reproductive hormones.
  • Spinal Cord Injury (SCI): any factors may predispose spinal cord injured men to infertility. Ejaculatory dysfunction, abnormalities of sperm production, chronic infections and blockage of sperm within the male reproductive tract are all potential factors.
  • Systemic disease: Systemic disease fever, infection, kidney disease, metabolic disorder; can impair spermatogenesis.
  • Testicular cancer: Can limit or destroy the ability for spermatogenesis (creation of sperm).
  • Testicular trauma: resulting from injury, surgery, or infection can trigger an immune response in the testes that may damage sperm. Though their effects are not fully understood, antibodies can impair a sperm cell's ability to swim through cervical mucus or to penetrate a female egg.
  • Varicocele: an abnormal enlargement of the veins in the scrotum draining the testicles. Defective valves, or compression of the vein by a nearby structure, can cause dilatation of the veins near the testis, leading to the formation of a varicocele, ultimately leading to damage to the testicular tissue.
  • Torsion or a twisting of the testes in the scrotum: is when the spermatic cord that provides the blood supply to a testicle is twisted, cutting off the blood supply, often causing orchialgia (chronic pain of the testicles or scrotum that typically lasts for more than three months). Prolonged testicular torsion will result in the death of the testicle and surrounding tissues.
  • Exposure to radiation or great heat on the testicles: can damage the ability of the reproductive system to function.
  • Vasectomy or vasectomy reversal: where the vas deferens are cut and/or tied to prevent sperm from joining with the ejaculate. Reversal is when there is a surgical procedure to re-attach the cut or tied vas deferens.
  • Surgical damage to the nerves associated with the genitals: can impair the gonads or penis from functioning properly.
  • Anabolic-Androgenic steroid abuse: that can cause shrinking of the testicles, reduced sperm count, infertility, baldness, development of breasts, and an increased risk for prostate cancer.
  • Congenital lack of LH/FSH from a pituitary problem at birth: Luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) are called gonadotropins because stimulate the gonads - in males, the testes, and in females, the ovaries. They are not necessary for life, but are essential for reproduction. A lack of either of these hormones can result in hypogonadism and a complete failure of reproductive function.
  • Chromosomal or genetic problems: DNA defects that can impair reproductive function or render it infertile.