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Male Infertility

What is male infertility?

The ability of a man to take part in the successful conception of her female partner is called male fertility. Fertility of man is a growing medical issue in our society. Talking about male infertility is equally necessary. In a society like Pakistan, where male dominance is a norm, people seldom think about infertility issues of men. On the other hand, women have been the sole focus for the cause of infertility of a couple. Research and evidence indicate that more than half of infertile couples have a male factor contributing to their infertility. 

When a couple tries for a baby for a whole year with unprotected intercourse and fails to conceive due to poor sperm contribution, it is known as male infertility. Conception happens when a healthy mobile sperm travels into the female reproductive tract and fertilizes a mature egg to make an embryo. This embryo attaches to the womb wall with the help of a tissue named the placenta, and the process is called implantation. All this process depends on the motility, count, and the morphology of the sperm. A successful pregnancy is less likely without healthy and strong sperm.

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What are the symptoms of male infertility?

Male infertility has few clear signs and symptoms, making it difficult to diagnose at an early stage. The primary symptom is no pregnancy, even after engaging in frequent, unprotected sexual activity for a year or more. Other indicators include decreased desire, underdeveloped or absent testes, poor hair growth, genetic issues, painful erection, scrotal swelling, and no discharge during sex. Male fertility checkups are mandatory when a couple under 35 tries for a year or when a couple over 35 attempts for six months. Just as critical as determining the fertility of men is testing female companions.

What are the causes of male infertility?

Many things, such as infections, hormone imbalances, varicocele, illnesses, and issues with sexual activity, can cause male infertility, a common problem. Testicular heat can interfere with testosterone synthesis and sperm production in cases of varicocele, a disorder marked by swollen veins in the testes. Surgeons can only treat varicocele surgically. However, research on the efficacy of this procedure is ongoing.

Medical conditions that impair sperm production and lower male fertility include diabetes, long-term steroid use, testosterone replacement therapy, antidepressants, cancer treatments, and drugs for ulcers and arthritis. Male infertility can also manifest as erectile dysfunction and hypogonadism.

Other types of male infertility are those due to azoospermia. Azoospermia, also known as zero sperm count, is a condition where no sperm arrives on laboratory reports. For blockage of the tract (obstructive azoospermia) as a cause of azoospermia, male fertility doctors conduct surgical treatments such as testicular biopsy, testicular sperm extraction (TESE), or testicular sperm aspiration (TESA). Doctors can use hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and other medications to treat non-obstructive azoospermia, the condition in which testicular cells fail to proliferate or go through the synthesis process. Consulting with a male infertility expert is vital for accurate diagnosis and management of azoospermia.

When to contact an infertility doctor?

Couples should consult experts for guidance and support. To identify potential reasons, partners over 35 and have been trying for six months or those under 35 and have been trying for a year should both get assessed. To diagnose male infertility, an infertility expert orders a simple test known as semen analysis. Most of the time, this basic test is enough to diagnose the male factor as a cause of infertility. Severe psychological stress and serious disruptions to the couple’s physical and mental well-being result from infertility. There is a social stigma associated with infertility. Seeking early professional health is crucial in treating infertility.

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