There is a common misconception that infertility is a ‘problem for women’. However, according to WebMD, an American human health news website, in approximately 20 percent of infertile couples, the male partner is the main cause of the incapability of conceiving.
As well, WebMD notes that in about 30 percent to 40 percent of infertile couples, the man is the causative factor. The same point is reiterated by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. This implies that taking a male fertility test is crucial for every man who looks forward to having his partner conceive.
Before recommending that a fertility test be conducted on you, the doctor will first interact with you and examine you to determine your lifestyle, work environment, previous medical history and your physical well-being. By assessing these factors, the doctor will be able to determine the likely cause of your infertility.
More importantly, understanding the aforementioned factors will help the doctor in recommending the test that should be performed on your sperms or genitals. In most cases, the doctor will recommend a semen analysis for you to determine if you have abnormal sperm.
Causes of Abnormal Sperm
A man can be healthy, but produce sperm of poor quality. This denotes that the sperm is incapable of fertilizing an egg. Semen analysis is usually recommended where your sperm is abnormal due to the following conditions:
- Presence of varicoceles
Varicoceles are abnormal growths of veins above the testicle. The growths lead to an enlargement of the testicles, which can cause them to overheat. The overheating of the testicles could have an effect on the quantity or morphology (shape) of the sperm.
According to WebMD, varicoceles are the most common cause of curable infertility in men, accounting for about 38 percent of the cases. This means that if varicoceles are the cause of the infertility, there is a high likelihood of the condition being corrected.
- Medical conditions
If you have a history of medical problems such as diabetes, infection, cystic fibrosis, failure of the testicles or trauma, then there is the possibility of having a low sperm concentration or quality. The same scenario applies if you have had exposures to radiation or chemotherapy.
- Unhealthy lifestyle
Habits that are unhealthy can contribute to a poor sperm count or low quality sperm. Such habits include smoking, supplementation of testosterone, use of alcohol, use of anabolic steroids, and use of other illicit substances.
- Exposure to harmful substances
Pollutants like smoke, pesticides and other toxins have an effect on the fertility of both men and women. In particular, pesticides can have a significant effect on the hormonal balance of men. This is because pesticides mimic body estrogens, which can lead to low testosterone and ultimately to a low sperm count.
Hormones found in dairy products and commercial meats may also be associated with estrogens, which lead to low sperm counts.
It is therefore clear that infertility is not a women’s problem. Along this line, male fertility tests are critical to determine the fertility status of man and the corrective steps that can be taken in case of infertility.