Experiencing problems with infertility as a man can make men struggle with feeling inadequate. Men often experience the same up and down emotions as women do when it comes to not being able to have a child but are often reluctant to communicate the feelings because having a child is tied in with who they are as a man. They feel like they’ve somehow failed, both as a man and as a romantic partner.
How does one deal with male infertility? The first step is to get educated. There are as many causes of the problem as there are solutions, but you can’t come to terms with something you don’t understand.
“Men are directly responsible in about 1/3 of infertility cases and are somehow involved in at least half”
The Main Causes of Male Infertility
Sperm disorders – Making and growing sperm are amongst the most common known causes. This may be caused from lifestyle choices, hereditary issues or from long term illnesses. Even a childhood infection such as the mumps can have an effect on a mans sperm.
Varicoceles – These are swollen veins in the scrotum and are found in about 16% of all men but are more common in infertile men; about 40%. It is the most common reversible cause of mail infertility.
Undescended testicle – Decreased fertility is more likely in men that have had this condition.
Some less common causes are retrograde ejaculation, immunologic infertility, hormones or an obstruction. There are also medications taken for arthritis, infections, blood pressure, cancer etc that can change sperm production, function and delivery.
Even the temperature can play a role in fighting against men wanting to be a father.. A study conducted at a New York university involved men holding laptop computers on their laps.
The study concluded that when a man’s testicles are subject to elevated temperatures, it leads to a lowered sperm count. The count was cut almost in half from what it would normally be without the raised temperature.
“Did you know that diabetes can cause a man to have trouble being able to father children?”
So can prostate cancer. So can exposure to certain hazards in the environment such as lead or pesticides. You can have a semen analysis done by a qualified urologist that will let you know if there are physical ailments that need to be dealt with.
Begin with having a complete physical checkup. Rule out any underlying health problems that can affect any ability to have a child.
The diagnosis begins with a complete physical and a thorough inventory of your medical history. The doctor will want to know everything that may be impacting your ability to conceive. This will include childhood illnesses, current health issues, medications that you may be taking as well as your use of alcohol or any recreational drug use. There are so many things that can cause infertility.
Also part of the diagnosis, is a semen analysis, a routine lab test that helps to show the cause of male infertility. This is to study the sperm volume, count, concentration and movement.
Other testing that may be done are a Transrectal Ultrasound, a Testicular Biopsy or a Hormonal Profile.
These are some of the more common treatments.
If the issue is an obstruction in the sperm transport plumbing then this could very well be surgically corrected..
Medicine or surgery can be used to treat hormonal abnormalities.
Surgery can also be used to treat varicoceles.
If these methods don’t work then modern science has provided us with several other options.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) – The fertilization of an egg externally and then implanted in the womb. This does require some viable sperm.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) – Sperm are injected directly into the uterus. Medications are given to increase the number of eggs released.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) – Similar to IVF but only a single sperm is injected into an egg and then implanted in the uterus. The advantage is that this can be done when sperm counts are abnormal or very low.
There are also some male infertility treatments that you can try at home. Actually, I should say things that you should NOT do. Such as any recreational drugs like marijuana, cocaine, etc. Hot baths and whirlpools will heat things up in the wrong way and have a negative effect on sperm production. And limiting yourself to two or less alcoholic beverages per day is also recommended.
“Other methods of preventing male infertility are keeping the weight off and reducing stress”
Men respond differently when dealing with male infertility. They might bury themselves in activities or work as a coping mechanism because they need to do something, anything over which they do have control. The inside turmoil may show in outward displays of anger, of moodiness or depression.
The main difference between men and women dealing with the same situation is that most men are reluctant to talk about what they’re going through. Instead, they attempt to cope with it on their own, not knowing that they’re not alone, that other men are also fighting the same battle – trying to understand and come to terms with the diagnosis. Some men tie their ability to father children in directly with their manhood so that when problems occur, their self-esteem suffers.
It’s imperative that you reach out to your partner and share your burden, share your emotions about how you’re dealing with the issue. If you feel the need to talk with other men about what you’re experiencing, ask your doctor to recommend a support group.