In a previous blog article, we talked about the causes of female infertility. As mentioned in that article, there was a time when women felt the unfair stigma of infertility, with the blame for not having a child laid squarely on their shoulders. Thanks to research, medical science has shown that male infertility accounts for 30 percent of the total number of infertility cases.
Because of this, fertility specialists always make certain to examine both the woman and the man for possible causes of infertility.
What are the symptoms of male infertility?
In most cases, there are no obvious signs of infertility. Intercourse, erections and ejaculation will usually happen without difficulty. The quantity and appearance of ejaculated semen generally appears normal to naked eye.
Medical tests are required to find out if a man is infertile.
Four Main Causes of Male Infertility
According to the American Pregnancy Association, the four main causes of male infertility are identified as follows…
“Unexplained” infertility/Unknown causes (40-50%)
Gonad Disorder (30-40%)
Sperm Transport Disorder (10-20%)
Hypothalamic or Pituitary Disorder (1-2%)
It is unfortunate that much research still remains to be done in order to identify what is causing “unexplained” fertility.
Male Infertility Due to Sperm Abnormalities
The most commonly identified cause of male infertility is abnormalities in the sperm. Sperm is deemed abnormal based on the following characteristics…
Low sperm count
Low motility (or are unable to swim fast)
Abnormal sperm morphology (structures)
Low sperm count or the total absence of sperm may be attributed by the following conditions:
Pre-existing genetic condition
Severe, post-pubertal mumps infection
Alcohol and drug abuse
Exposure to radiation and toxic chemicals
Blockage resulting from a previous sexually transmitted disease
Injury to the groin
Male Infertility Due to Problems in Ejaculation
In some cases, sperm is present in the testes. But ejaculation problems prevent the sperm from reaching the egg. These ejaculation problems may include…
Premature ejaculation = ejaculation occurs before actual sexual penetration
Retrograde ejaculation = semen is forcefully redirected back into the bladder
Complications resulting from surgery or radiation therapy
Other Causes of Male Infertility
Other identified causes of male infertility can include varicocele, obstruction, hormonal abnormalities, a history of sexually transmitted disease (STDs) and urinary tract infections.
Diagnosis of Male Infertility
Just like in women, a man is thoroughly assessed by a doctor through a meticulous medical history and physical examination, including a physical inspection of the penis, scrotum and prostate. Blood tests are also ordered to determine the existence of infections and hormonal abnormalities.
The most important diagnostic test for male infertility is semen analysis. Aside from measuring the volume of semen and number of sperm per millilitre, sperm are also assessed in terms of their morphology and motility.
Sincere Andrology Laboratory
Here at Sincere Healthcare Group, we have a dedicated andrology laboratory that provides a series of diagnostic tests using advanced technology for the diagnoses of male infertility. Some of these tests include DNA Fragementation Assay, Sperm Oxidative Stress Assay and Hyaluronan Binding Assay (HBA).
Some of the less common tests are only available in Singapore at Sincere Andrology Laboratory. These sperm functional tests provide more specific information about sperm formation and sperm function than a semen analysis can provide, and useful in getting to the root of male infertility issues.