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A Little Bit More about Fertility and Infertility in Men

What does it mean to be fertile to the man? It means just ‘to be a MAN’. For some of the individuals it is only to have this point, for some – to have this one and to have a porshe, a nice big house and a sexy lover in addition to beautiful understanding and grateful wife. Fertility is an absolute measure value of the male's manhood. What does it mean to be infertile for a man? It is the same as to have one hand. Or to be blind. Even if no one knows about it – he knows and feels inferior about it.

To achieve pregnancy the whole chain of events must be held successfully: a woman’s ovaries must be able to release a viable egg, which is able to travel down the fallopian tube; the man must be able to ejaculate, and his sperm must be able to travel to the fallopian tube; the sperm and egg must join together until the implantation in a receptive uterus and then be nurtured by the body until the birth.

To be fertile for man means to have good process of the production of mature sperm that are able to reach and fertilize the egg.

It may sound like men’s fertility requires not so many events as women’s, but no. Men’s fertility is the same complex process with lots of conditions to be met:

- a man must have and sustain an erection;

- a man must ejaculate enough healthy sperm;

- must have enough semen to carry the sperm to the woman’s egg;

- must have sperm of the right shape that will move in the right direction

A problem in any of these conditions leads to infertility in men.

What causes infertility in men?
  1. Irregular sperm. Problems with the amount of the sperm (too few of them or even none at all or decreased sperm count) – it’s actually the most common problem
  2. Blockages. If man’s vas deferens or epididymis tubes are blocked or damaged, it can prevent the sperm from getting into their ejaculate fluid. Common causes that can provoke this blockage are injury, infection, congenital defects and vasectomy.
  3. Retrograde ejaculation
  4. Hormone deficiency
  5. Scarring from sexually transmitted disease (also pelvic inflammatory disease)
  6. Problems with the sperm's ability to reach the egg and fertilize it (the shape of the sperm is abnormal that causes the wrong direction of them while moving in the fallopian tube or just poor motility of the sperm)
  7. Endometriosis
  8. Varicocele. It is similar to the varicose veins but veins are enlarged in the scrotum that can provoke the raising of the temperature (that in its turn affects the production of healthy sperm)
  9. Sperm allergy. Sometimes after infection or trauma (most commonly after vasectomy) your body may develop antibodies that kill your own sperm
  10. Environmental toxins
  11. Some emotional factors
What increases infertility in men?

Most common problems that affect men’s sperm start later in life due to some factors like illness or injury. Cystic fibrosis is often a disease that may cause infertility in men.

Sometimes men are born with such problems. But everyday lifestyle of an average man increases the risk of infertility. To be more specific - the following things do:

- Smoking, alcohol and drugs

- Stress

- Environmental toxins (including pesticides and lead)

- Health  problems

- Medications

- Radiation treatment and chemotherapy for cancer

- Age (fertility declines quickly after forty)

- Genetic conditions (such as Klinefelter syndrome)

- Exposing the testes to high temperatures (it is wearing a tight underwear for some men, that increases the temperature of the testes and affects the ability of the sperm to move and to fertilize an egg; and some other condition with the higher than normal temperature of the testes - cryptorchism )

- Some other health problems

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- Unknown causes of infertility that health care providers cannot determine

The question of infertility is very delicate, even if a man suspects having a problem with it or has a constant everyday agenda ‘to make a baby’ with his couple and has a constant failure in return month after the month – only a health care provider can really provide a diagnosis of infertility. And if you are to face this sad and cruel fact – don’t give up. Statistics knows thousand of successful stories of gaining so much desired child. You have a variety of ways to treat your infertility starting from medication and surgery to ART (Assisted reproductive technology) and artificial insemination (this is when a woman is injected with prepared sperm from her husband, partner, or a donor). And a positive look for life is an absolute partner to all good achievements.  

Valentyna Ant.

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