Men Have Fertility Problems Too

Starting or growing a family can be a fantastic accomplishment for a man. However, infertility may be at play when getting pregnant with a partner is increasingly difficult. Male-factor infertility is as common as female-factor infertility and is classified as the inability to get pregnant for at least 6 months. Most cases of infertility come down to issues with sperm, particularly low sperm count. Understanding and fixing the root cause can help men with conception.

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Could it be a low sperm count?

A strong, healthy sperm must meet an egg for a successful, natural pregnancy. This process is dependent on 3 factors, namely sperm count, sperm motility, and sperm shape. Sperm count is one of the most critical markers and is the biggest reason for infertility. The normal sperm ranges are 15 million to more than 200 million sperm per milliliter of semen. Less than 15 million is called oligospermia. Azoospermia is more severe when there is no sperm in the ejaculate. These conditions reduce the chances of pregnancy. There are several reasons why low sperm count can happen.

Can’t stand the heat?

The testicles produce sperm based on signals from the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and testosterone. Studies show that the testicles should be at least 1 to 2 degrees Celcius lower than basal body temperature to produce sperm. These same studies show that excess heat to the groin can significantly reduce sperm production. Men are exposed to environmental triggers that increase the heat in the testicles. Driving for long distances on heated car seats can lower sperm count. Other potential heat exposures include laptops and hot tubs. The excess heat increases oxidative stress, which in turn reduces both sperm count and quality.

Here’s what to do about it

Men struggling to conceive should see a reproductive specialist as soon as possible. The doctor will assess the patient and ask questions about lifestyle choices. The first step is to reduce or remove any factors causing heat in the groin area. From there, the doctor may suggest treatments to increase sperm count. Treatments include medication, intrauterine insemination (IUI), and in vitro fertilization (IVF). These steps can significantly improve the chances of pregnancy.

Cool things down to improve pregnancy

Male-factor infertility can feel distressing, and men can feel inadequate. Most cases are due to low sperm count and sperm quality. The heated seats in cars increase the temperature of the testicles, which can affect sperm production. Keep things cool and avoid heated seats, especially if family planning is in the future. Over time, sperm production should improve. If pregnancy is still elusive, both parties should visit reproductive specialists for further treatment.

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