Problems with producing sperm
Male infertility has two common causes and names:
- Azoospermia, where no sperm cells are produced
- Oligospermia, where fewer than normal sperm cells are produced.
Also, sperm cells can be malformed or die before they reach the egg.
What causes these problems?
In around one in three cases, male infertility is caused by blockages or the absence of tubes – usually due to an injury or a vasectomy.
In rare cases, a genetic disease such as cystic fibrosis or a chromosomal abnormality can cause male infertility.
If you’ve helped conceive a baby in the past, but can’t now, you may still be producing normal, healthy sperm, but it may mean your sperm is not compatible with your current partner.
Sperm quality can also be affected by:
- excessive drinking
- drugs, including steroids and recreational use
- weight and body mass index (BMI)
- frequent exposure to extreme heat (working in hot temperatures, or regular saunas)
- working in cramped conditions (for example, truck drivers)
- acute viral illness
- operations for undescended testes or hernias.
Exploding a few myths
You may have heard of some other reasons for poor sperm production. Here’s the real picture:
- There is no scientific evidence that wearing tight clothes or bike shorts affects the quality of your sperm.
- Diet, vitamins and supplements have very little impact on your sperm count – but they can help you stay generally healthy.
- Sports injuries to the groin affect sperm production only in extremely severe cases.
Treating male infertility
- ICSI treatment, or Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection, is usually recommended for couples where male infertility is a problem, especially relating to the number or quality of sperm produced. ICSI can also be used in cases where a man has had a vasectomy. It involves the direct injection of a single sperm into each egg using sophisticated equipment.
Contact us to find out more about male fertility treatments.
Find out more about male infertility tests.