About 13% of sexually active couples do not become pregnant, even when they do not use contraception. In both sexes, infertility can arise from a wide variety of factors. That said, more than one-third of infertility cases have a male factor. Most of the time, this is because he is having issues with either sperm production or sperm movement.
What Happens Under Normal Circumstances?
The male reproductive system produces a special type of cell called sperm. Normal sperm transfer during intercourse occurs by ejaculation.
The sperm is created, stored, and transported by the male reproductive system. This is regulated by hormones, which are chemical messengers in the body. The two testicles produce sperm and the male sex hormone testosterone. The scrotum, a bag of skin below the penis, is home to the testicles. Each testicle has a tube at its back, which sperm go after leaving the organ. The epididymis is the name for the duct in question.
The sperm go from the epididymis into another network of tubes right before ejaculation. The vas deferens is the collective term for these ducts. The epididymis is the starting point for both vas deferens, which travel to the pelvis behind the bladder. Each vas deferens connects to the ejaculatory duct at this point, originating in the seminal vesicle. Fluid from the prostate and seminal vesicles joins the sperm when you ejaculate. This is how sperm are created. The sperm then exits the body via the urethra.
The production and distribution of healthy sperm are essential for male fertility. The male partner’s sperm is introduced vaginally to the female. Sperm enter the woman’s uterus through her cervix and then move on to the fallopian tubes. Embryos are fertilised when sperm encounter eggs in that location.
This process is effective only under ideal conditions of genetics, hormones, and the surrounding organic environment.
That said, issues with sperm production may have their origins in a person’s genetic makeup. Changing one’s way of life can have an effect on sperm count. Fewer sperm are produced when a man smokes, drinks heavily, or takes certain drugs. Chronic diseases (like kidney failure), contagious childhood illnesses (like measles), and chromosomal or hormonal abnormalities are also other factors that contribute to low sperm counts.
Low or nonexistent sperm counts may be the result of reproductive system damage. For every ten men diagnosed with azoospermia, about 4 have a blockage or obstruction in the tubes where sperm are transported. A blockage might be caused by anything as simple as an illness or as serious as a congenital abnormality.
Creaky veins in the scrotum are called varicoceles. 16 males out of every 100 had them. Those males who are unable to conceive are more likely to experience them too. They hinder sperm development by cutting off oxygen and nutrients.
Varicoceles may cause blood to flow backwards from the abdomen into the scrotum. When that happens, the testicles get too hot to produce sperm. As a result, sperm counts may drop.
- Retrograde Ejaculation
When sperm travels backwards inside the body, it is called retrograde ejaculation. They are passed through the urinary tract rather than the penis. This occurs when the bladder’s nerves and muscles fail to contract during orgasm (climax). Even if the sperm in semen are healthy, the semen itself may never make it out of the penis and into the vagina.
Medical procedures, pharmaceuticals, and neurological disorders all have the potential to induce retrograde ejaculation. The symptoms include reduced fluid or “dry” ejaculation and hazy urine after urination.
- Immunologic Infertility
Unfortunately, a man’s body can produce antibodies that target his own sperm and destroy them. Injuries, surgeries, and infections are common triggers for the production of antibodies. They hinder the sperm’s ability to swim and reproduce. How exactly antibodies have this effect on fertility is still unknown. We do know that they can hinder sperm’s ability to reach and penetrate an egg via the fallopian tube. Generally speaking, this is not a leading cause of infertility in men.
A blockage in the channels through which sperm travel can occur. Blockage can be brought on by repeated infections, surgery (such as vasectomy), edoema, or birth abnormalities. It is possible to obstruct the male reproductive system at any point. In the event of a blockage, sperm produced in the testes cannot be expelled from the body during ejaculation.
The pituitary gland’s hormones signal the testicles to begin spermatogenesis. Extremely low hormone levels cause poor sperm development.
Men’s sperm transport 50% of their DNA to the egg. It has been shown that alterations in chromosomal number and structure can have an effect on reproductive success. The male Y chromosome, for instance, can be incomplete.
Indeed, male infertility is a complex issue and can be caused by a variety of factors, including but not limited to genetic disorders, structural problems, hormonal imbalances, and lifestyle choices. While it is important to determine the exact cause of infertility in men, it is also important to remember that infertility does not have to be a permanent condition.
With medical intervention, lifestyle changes, and proper treatment, it is possible for some men to regain their fertility.
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