Risk Factors for Male Infertility

Know the Risk Factors for Male Infertility

It’s not uncommon for couples to assume that their inability to get pregnant must be a “female problem.” But the truth is, a male factor often plays a role.

Approximately 15 percent of couples have difficulty conceiving, and an estimated 50 percent of those have male factor infertility. Male infertility can be challenging for men who want biological children, but with help from our Northern Louisiana fertility doctor, many men are able to become biological fathers.

Knowing the common risk factors for male infertility is a good place to start. While many cases of male infertility have no associated risk factors, any of the following could be a red flag that a male factor is contributing to a couple’s infertility.

  • Hormone imbalances, including those caused by testosterone supplements
  • Physical trauma or surgery in the genital or scrotal region
  • Anatomic complications, including undescended testes or other physical blockages
  • Chemotherapy, radiation or other chemical exposure
  • Genetic conditions, such as cystic fibrosis
  • Chronic health problems, including diabetes
  • History of sexually transmitted infections
  • Lifestyle choices (illicit drug use, tobacco or marijuana exposure, alcohol consumption beyond recommended amounts)

Causes of male factor infertility

Male infertility can generally be broken down into three categories.

  • Abnormal sperm, such as sperm with low mobility or an abnormal shape
  • Low sperm count
  • Ejaculation problems, including retrograde ejaculation

Determining the cause of infertility is key to treating and improving fertility issues.

Evaluating male infertility risk and causes

David T. Vandermolen MD, MS recommends that men who are concerned about infertility get evaluated by a fertility specialist.

Our evaluation includes taking the patient’s medical history, along with a physical examination and semen analysis. Dr. Vandermolen may also order bloodwork to check hormone levels, look for infection or identify genetic disorders. This evaluation can help determine whether there are treatments, procedures or lifestyle changes that can be made to improve fertility.

Reducing risk factors for male infertility

Reducing risk factors may improve male fertility. Dr. Vandermolen often recommends the following lifestyle changes.

  • Improve diet
  • Add or increase exercise
  • Quit smoking
  • Limit alcohol consumption
  • Eliminate drugs, such as marijuana, steroids and illicit drugs
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to heat (long, hot showers; saunas; hot tubs; and laptops directly on your lap)
  • Wear loose-fitting underwear

Treating male infertility

In addition to reducing risk factors for male infertility, our Northern Louisiana fertility doctor may recommend treatment or refer the patient to a urologist who treats male infertility. Several treatment options are available to help with male factor infertility.

  • Medications to increase sperm production, treat existing infections or correct hormone imbalances
  • Surgery to repair obstructions to the reproductive tract
  • Counseling for conditions such as erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation
  • Assisted reproductive technology (ART) with treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Male infertility is a complex medical issue. Dr. Vandermolen and the team at ArkLaTex Fertility and Reproductive Medicine can guide you through the process of identifying male infertility risk factors and causes, planning potential treatments, and taking the next steps. Call our office for more information about male infertility or to schedule an appointment.