Male Problems Account for 20 Percent of Infertility Cases
By Jim Greene
Published on March 26, 2010
For about 20 percent of infertile couples, the failure to conceive can be attributed to the male. The primary reasons are impaired sperm function or impaired production or delivery of sperm.
To function properly in conception, sperm cells must be able to travel far enough and in the right direction to encounter the egg, and then penetrate the egg's outer membrane. A sperm that is not properly developed may not be able to propel itself far enough or may travel in the wrong direction. If a sperm cell is not properly shaped, it cannot penetrate the egg.
Numbers Count for Conception
Only one perfectly performing sperm cell is needed for conception, so, in order to compensate for those that don't make the grade, millions are normally delivered in the ejaculate. If a man's production is below normal, or there is a delivery problem, the odds of conception go down.
Temperature is critical to sperm production. A swollen vein in the scrotum, known as a varicocele, or a testicle that did not descend properly from the abdomen to the scrotum can cause abnormally high temperatures that lead to low sperm volume or poor formation. Testosterone deficiency, other hormone disorders, chromosome defects, or infection may also adversely affect sperm production.
Delivery Problems May Be Mental or Physical
Inadequate delivery of sperm can be the result of erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, painful intercourse, or one of several psychological issues. Physiological issues may include a blockage somewhere in the sperm production system or the misdirection of sperm into the bladder. Injury to or diseases of the spinal cord may prevent the production of the semen needed to transport the sperm.
Couples who have been unable to conceive should seek the help of an experienced fertility specialist. A qualified professional may be able to determine the reason and, in many cases, recommend a course of treatment that will result in successful conception.