Infertility: Not Simply a “Female Issue”

Thousands of couples struggle with the painful issue of infertility. It’s a relatively common problem, with nearly 10% of American women unable to conceive a baby within a year of trying. If you’ve been trying to conceive for more than a few months and haven’t had success, medical intervention may be necessary.

Though many people assume that infertility is simply a female issue, this isn’t always the case. The male partner could also have factors that are contributing to the woman’s inability to conceive. The good news is that many infertility issues are often treatable.

At the OB/GYN practice of Darin L. Weyhrich, MD, in Boise, Idaho, Dr. Weyhrich and his team are experts at diagnosing the causes of infertility and providing treatment. In this blog, Dr. Weyhrich discusses how male factors can contribute to infertility and what can be done about it.

Infertility and men

Men contribute to the problem of infertility in about 35% of infertility cases. In many of these cases, there is a combination of both male and female factors. When you come into the office for a fertility exam, we’ll take a look at both male and female issues.

Male factors for infertility include the following:

Low sperm motility and a low sperm count can make it less likely that you’ll get pregnant. However, if you’re experiencing frequent miscarriages, poor morphology may be an issue, along with additional female factors.

Causes of male infertility

A lot of men are disappointed or even devastated to learn that infertility may be partly or completely due to factors involving them. After all, our culture places a lot of pressure on men to be virile and interested in sex. But masculinity and sex drive have nothing to do with male fertility.

Unfortunately, male infertility is increasing. Sperm counts, in particular, are declining in Western countries due in large part to low sperm counts. Low counts can be caused by a number of factors, including the following:

Other lifestyle factors, such as chronic stress, heavy alcohol use, and spending a lot of time watching TV, have been named as possible causes, though research is not conclusive.

Treating male infertility

Some simple steps may be recommended first, such as quitting smoking, avoiding hot tubs and saunas, and wearing underwear that isn’t tight. However, it’s more likely that we’ll use one or more technologies to make the most of your partner’s sperm.

Intrauterine insemination

With intrauterine insemination, we take a sample of the man’s sperm, select the most active and normal-appearing ones, and insert the sperm into the woman’s uterus. This increases the chances for the sperm to reach the egg for conception to occur.

In-vitro fertilization

With in-vitro fertilization, the woman takes fertility drugs. Then, we harvest the woman’s eggs and match them with the man’s sperm in a laboratory. Then we take one of the resulting embryos and insert it into the woman’s uterus.

If you’re unable to conceive, we can help. To learn more, book an appointment over the phone with the office of Darin L. Weyhrich, MD, today.

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