Understanding Male Infertility

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Understanding Male Infertility

Typically, the burden of fertility—and infertility—falls on women. However, male fertility plays just as big a role in trying to conceive. It’s time we ease the amount of pressure placed on women trying to conceive. It’s important we openly discuss the topic of male infertility to help us in understanding male infertility. This is why we asked Dr Stephen Elgey, fertility specialist here at Sunnybank Obstetrics, Fertility and Gynaecology, a few questions about male infertility.

What are the most common causes of male infertility?

“Often the underlying causes are not clear. However, the most common causes we see are underlying issues medical conditions, exposure to pollutants and smoking and drug use”

What can you do about a low sperm count?

“It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Taking multivitamins and supplements, not smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, regular exercise, reducing exposure to toxins and pollutants and a diet rich in folate and zinc are all beneficial to male fertility. For some men there are problems with the veins in the pelvis, for which surgery can help. Occasionally a biopsy is needed to obtain viable sperm. “

What are some misconceptions about infertility in males?

“Some common misconceptions are: tight underwear causes infertility and infertility problems are caused only by the female. It is often not understood that 1/3 of fertility issues are due to the male, and 1/3 due to the female.”

What is the success rate of IVF?

“Success rates of conceiving can be improved by directly injecting sperm into the egg. A woman who is the under age of 35 and undergoes IVF has a 39.6% chance of having a baby, while a woman over age 40 has an 11.5% chance. Most men with fertility issues are able to have a child with IVF. Occasionally a donor may be necessary for severe problems.”

What investigations are necessary to check for infertility?

“When investigating suspected infertility we test both partners, individually. In men we will ask for a semen analysis, investigative blood tests and if necessary a testicular biopsy and ultrasound of the reproductive organs to rule out a varicocele or trauma.”

Do genetics affect the quality of sperm?

“Genetic factors can be factored in if a man has absent sperm (azoospermia), low sperm count an abnormal shape or poor motility. Of course, this isn’t always the result of genetics, as mentioned above environmental and social factors really impact the quality of sperm.”

If you have any questions about male infertility or would like to know more, give our clinic a call on (07) 3344 1656.


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