What are the signs of infertility in men- Male infertility

Male infertility is now coming to light as men are discovering that they are not able to make their wives pregnant. Among the many couples that visit infertility clinics, a lot of them find that the fertility issues they are facing are only due to a problem with the male partner. Male infertility has no obvious outward signs. A man may not know he is infertile till he undergoes a fertility test and has his sperm checked for count, motility and morphology. In most cases, the only signs of infertility in men are when they are not able to make their partners pregnant.

Erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction can broadly be described as a situation where a man has problems getting an erection or sustaining one. A man who cannot maintain an erection is considered infertile. He will not be able to impregnate a woman naturally. For conception, he will have to undergo an IVF procedure. However, erectile dysfunction is not related to sperm count or quality of sperm. Hence a simple procedure like IUI can help the female partner get pregnant.

What are the signs of infertility in men?

A man is considered infertile when there is a problem related to the sperm count or the quality of the sperm. The common problems with sperm are:

  • Abnormal sperm morphology
  • Sperm with poor motility
  • Poor sperm quality
  • Sperm that cannot attach the head to egg
  • Sperm that cannot penetrate the egg due to abnormal head shape

Over the years, the general sperm count in men has reduced. Two decades ago, a general healthy sperm count was 50 million per millilitre of sperm. Today 20 million is the general count and is considered as healthy. A sperm count of 10 million or lower is considered as a low sperm count.

Low sperm count is a very common problem in men today. Men with low sperm count can sire children, but they will require some kind of medical assistance or a medical procedure to help with conception.

Some men suffer from a condition where there are no sperm in their semen. This is known as azoospermia.

There are men who have healthy sperm and a good sperm count but are not able to release the sperm, and hence the sperm cannot penetrate the egg.

Retrograde flow of sperm, when the sperm are ejected, they travel back into the bladder instead of entering the woman’s body. This is a condition that happens as a side effect of certain medication and can also be caused due to surgery.

Symptoms that should not be ignored

There are certain symptoms or changes in a man’s body that he may notice, but most of the time, these are ignored and not given any importance. However, this is an indication that something is wrong and should be looked into by a medical expert. Some of these symptoms could be related to signs of infertility in men.

  • A decrease in sex drive is when a man finds that he is not inclined towards sex. He no longer feels the desire to have sex.
  • Any kind of a pain in the testicle area. If you notice a lump or some swelling.
  • Gynecomastia: breast growth in males
  • Decrease in body and facial hair is due to a hormonal abnormality.

Any kind of sexual problems should be given serious attention. Any of these problems could be signs of infertility in men lead to or hamper male fertility.

Men usually ignore their fertility and do not bother to pay heed to symptoms that their bodies undergo, unless it is causing them pain or discomfort. However, conscious awareness of bodily changes can help to catch a problem in the initial stages before it becomes a major issue.