What is the Cause of Male Factor Infertility?

Some individuals may know that infertility remains a growing problem in Nigeria. However, what many people don't know is that, according to studies, male factor infertility is responsible for up to 50% of all infertility challenges in the country. These facts and numbers are not common knowledge which makes it even more important to create awareness about the high prevalence of male infertility, its causes and treatment options.

What Causes Male Infertility?

  1. Lifestyle habits such as stress, smoking, recreational drug use, a poor diet and weight problems can cause low sperm count, which means the concentration of sperm in a semen sample is abnormal. Low sperm count reduces male fertility. Wearing tight underwear is also discouraged.
  2. Semen is made up of the seminal fluid and the sperm. Semen that is abnormal in appearance, or otherwise, may be the result of STDs or other infections which can also affect male fertility. A Journal of Basic and Clinical Reproductive Sciences reports that the major causes of infertility in Nigeria are sexually transmitted infections and hormonal abnormalities.
  3. Abnormal sperm, in terms of shape and size, can also cause fertility challenges. The following characteristics are considered abnormal: large round head, small pinpoint head, tapered head, crooked head, two heads, or a tail with kinks and curls.
  4. Low semen production (hypospermia) and high semen volume (hyperspermia) can both affect fertility. In the former, there's often not enough fluid to transport the sperm to the cervix; in the latter the sperm is diluted which reduces efficiency. Low semen production causes include:
    1. Blockages
    2. Certain infections
    3. Hormonal abnormalities
    4. Retrograde ejaculation (semen flows backwards into bladder)
  5. Sometimes semen contains no sperm. This condition is called azoospermia and causes include:
    1. Transport Problems: sperm may be blocked from mixing with the semen. Causes of transport problems include infections such as STDs, prostate-related problems, vasectomy, or a congenital absence of the vas deferens (tubes that transport sperm to the urethra).
    2. Production Problems: trauma, hormonal imbalances or undescended testicles may cause dysfunction within the testes which affects sperm production. Sperm production problems can also be related to chromosomal or genetic causes, twisting of the testis in the scrotum or medicines.
  6. Varicocele (a collection of varicose-like veins above the testicles) is a common condition that negatively affects sperm count, motility and shape, which reduces fertility.
  7. Chemicals and toxins, usually in occupational environments, can affect men's sperm concentration as well as sperm quality and therefore fertility. Heat, radiation, chemicals and trauma are the main four environmental factors associated with male infertility.
  8. Fertility can be affected by sexual problems such as ejaculatory problems (e.g premature-, delayed- or dry ejaculate), erectile dysfunction, infrequent intercourse, spinal cord injury, prostate surgery, nerve damage and some medicines.
  9. Injuries, chemotherapy for cancer, age as well as physical abnormalities also affect fertility.

In rare cases, the cause is unclear or cannot be explained.

The amount and details of the causes listed above may be alarming, but don't panic. Many of these factors can be overcome and more complicated conditions can be treated.

If you want to improve your chances of conceiving today, make the following lifestyle changes: stop smoking, stop using drugs, eat healthier, learn to manage your stress and reach as well as maintain a healthy body weight. It may help to get in touch with primary healthcare practitioners, as well as other professionals, who can assist you (a dietician, personal trainer, etc.).

If you want to take control of your fertility today, visit your primary healthcare practitioner for a basic examination. OR book a FertilitySure Lite assessment for men. After this comprehensive assessment, the reasons for fertility challenges are diagnosed and a treatment plan is recommended.

Could you be suffering from any of the mentioned causes? Stop wondering and find out. If the answer is 'yes', start working towards a solution with specialists you can trust.

To get in touch with a specialist, contact Bridge Clinic today:
Book an Appointment call 01 631 0092  / +234 (0)1 631 0092 or email enquiries@thebridgeclinic.com

Learn More About Male Factor Fertility
Also Read: Treatment Options for Male Factor Infertility