Infertility Affects Men and Women Equally
The chance of a normal couple conceiving is 20% to 37% by three months, 75% by six months, and 90% at one year. Of those couples that do not conceive in the first year, as many as 50% will conceive in the next year. Couples that have tried without success to conceive should see a fertility specialist. About 20% of infertility cases are due to a male factor alone. Another 30% involves both male and female factors.
Causes of Infertility
When a couple has trouble having a baby, there's about a 50-50 chance that the man has a problem contributing to the pregnancy. He might:
- Produce too few sperm to fertilize an egg
- Make sperm that are not shaped properly or that do not move the way they should
- Have a blockage in his reproductive tract that keeps sperm from getting out
If you might have a fertility problem, your doctor will want to perform a complete history and physical, as well as several tests to find out what may be causing your infertility.View the Male Factor Infographic
How is Male Fertility Evaluated?
The first way a doctor evaluates male fertility involves a physical exam and medical history. After that, semen is evaluated. The semen is normally collected in a sterile containter by masturbation. The semen test gives important information about the amount, movement, and shape of sperm. If the sperm count is normal and the sperm are of normal shape and moving normally, the man is most likely normal. If the results are abnormal, the sperm should be examined. Illness or medications three months earlier can impair sperm ejaculated on the day of examination. Hormone blood tests also may be used to help evaluate male fertility issues.View the Comprehensive Male Fertlity Video (22 mins) Read the Diagnostic Testing for Male Factor Infertility fact sheet
Should we change the way we have sex?
How often should a couple have intercourse?
Are there coital (sex) practices that can improve our chances of conceiving?
Is Age a Factor I Should Worry About?
What Can I Do to Optimize My Fertility?
Like many aspects of our health, a man’s fertility is improved by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining an ideal weight, a diet rich in antioxidants (found in fruits and vegetables), as well as multi-vitamins may improve the quality of sperm. Reducing stress and controlling chronic medical conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes may also improve a man’s chances of impregnating his partner. Remember that any such changes in the man’s lifestyle will take almost three months to show an improvement in sperm. Couples with underlying medical or genetic conditions should see a doctor so that they can increase their overall health before conceiving.Read the Optimizing Male Fertility fact sheet View the full Environmental Toxicants Infographic