Infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant despite having frequent, unprotected sex for at least a year. If you and your partner are attempting to have a child or to expand your family, the difficulties encountered may be complex and can be caused by a number of factors.
Male factors often involve problems with the amount or health of sperm. Lifestyle factors play an important role in increasing your likelihood of having a baby. Small changes can make a big impact. Read more about the lifestyle changes that may improve your chances of fertility. There are also many different types of treatment that can help restore fertility, such as medications, surgery, or assisted reproductive technology (ART).
For those who are thinking about seeing a doctor for fertility tests and would like to know what to expect, see our section Tests. Our overview will help prepare you for what’s in store.
Factors to do with male infertility often involve problems with the amount or health of sperm. This may be due to low sperm production, misshapen or immobile sperm, or blockages that prevent the delivery of sperm. Illnesses, injuries, chronic health problems, lifestyle choices and other factors can play a role in causing male infertility. Causes of male infertility may include:
For information about lifestyle factors that may affect male infertility, see risk factors.
There are a number of lifestyle factors that can increase your risk of infertility including
During the first visit, your doctor will most likely ask for both partners' health and sexual histories. This will include details about the medications you are taking, illnesses you’ve had and information about your sexual habits. He or she will typically conduct a general physical exam. For men, this will include an examination of your genitals.
Specific fertility tests for men may include:
Treatment of infertility will take into account the cause, how long you've been trying to get pregnant, as well as your age and your partner's age. Infertility treatment can involve a significant commitment financially, physically and psychologically.
Treatment for men is usually centered on general sexual problems or lack of healthy sperm. It may include: