Common male infertility problems can either be a physical abnormality or abnormalities of the sperm. In a large number of cases the causes may remain unknown. A semen analysis is baseline starting investigation for all infertile couples. Hormonal analysis, ultrasound and other investigations may be needed depending on the findings.
• Sperm count : May be very low or there may be no sperm at all
• Sperm swimming capacity : If mobility is reduced, it is harder for sperm to swim to the egg
• Sperm Morphology : Abnormal shaped sperm make it harder for them to fertilise an egg
The sperm is produced and stored in the testes. Any damage to testes can seriously affect the quality of semen. Some conditions causing this are :
• Testicular Cancer
• Testicular Surgery
• Testicular Birth Defect
• Undescended Testes : When one or both testes has not descended into the scrotum.
Azoospermia is absence of sperm in semen This may be because either the testes do not produce sperm or the sperm produced may not reach the semen, due to blockage. This blockage may have been caused by an infection or surgery. Absence of sperm production may be due to hormonal imbalance or due to testicular failure. Depending on what blood tests show hormonal therapy may be of help.
Hypogonadism is an abnormally low level of testosterone, the male sex hormone. This could be due to a tumour, drug abuse, anabolic steroid use for weight building or Kallmans syndrome (a rare genetic disorder).
Anti Sperm antibodies are a body secreted chemical in the semen that binds to the sperm and affects their ability to penetrate and fertilise an egg. This can occur following a vasectomy, previous infections or injuries.
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