Infertility in Men

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photo courtesy of

When a couple is struggling to conceive, it is often assumed that it is due to a medical issue on the part of the female.  However, the issue could very well lie with the male.  If you have been trying to conceive for either 6 months if the female is 35 or older, or one year if the female is under 35, without success, it is important for both partners to pursue a medical evaluation.

There are several factors that can play into male infertility.  The first is age.  While men can stay fertile well into their 70s, the quality of their sperm can change over time, making it less likely to fertilize an egg.  These changes include a decrease in the number of sperm, differences in the shape and movement of the sperm, or a total cease in sperm production.

Lifestyle choices are another factor.  Heavy alcohol use, cigarette and/or marijuana smoking, and illegal drug use can all lead too temporary reductions in sperm quality.  Additionally, exposure to environmental toxins, such as lead or pesticides, has been known to cause infertility.

Health related issues can also play a role.  Infertility can be cause by any of the following: diabetes, sexually transmitted diseases, contracting mumps after puberty, certain genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis, infection of the prostate gland, or an injury to the testicles.  Unfortunately, some medications you may need to keep you well can also contribute to infertility.  These include medicines used to treat psoriasis and ulcers.  Medicines used to lower blood pressure are also known to cause outright impotence.

Fortunately, physicians and counselors can help couples facing these issues through therapy, advice on lifestyle changes, and perhaps new medications.  It is important to be honest with yourself and others and seek medical care if needed to reach your goal of adding to your family.


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