One of the pitfalls of modern lifestyle has been an increase in stress, and constant exposure to pollution. Sedentary habits and unhealthy eating practices have contributed to the many health problems seen in people today. Infertility in men and women is a rising cause for concern.
Approximately 15% of all couples attempting to have children will be affected by infertility. This is attributable to a male factor alone in 30% of couples and to a combination of male and female factors in an additional 20%. In approximately 50% of all infertile couples, therefore, an abnormal male factor contributes to reproductive failure.To treat these patients successfully, familiarity with the basic evaluation of the infertile male is necessary. Recently, some of the most important advances in the management of male infertility have been in the area of advanced reproductive technologies (ART). This review gives special attention to this topic as well as to the potential genetic implications of applying ART to couples whose infertility problems stem from severe male factor infertility.
Infertility is defined as the inability to achieve pregnancy after one year of unprotected intercourse. An estimated 15% of couples meet this criterion and are considered infertile. Historically, the workup for the infertile couple focused primarily on conditions of the female. However, conditions of the male alone are now estimated to account for nearly 30% of infertile couples, and conditions of both the female and the male account for another 20%. Conditions of the male that affect fertility are still generally under diagnosed and under treated.
- Infertility in men is most often caused by:
- Problems making sperm — producing too few sperm or none at all
- Problems with the sperm’s ability to reach the egg and fertilize it — abnormal sperm shape or structure prevent it from moving correctly Sometimes a man is born with the problems that affect his sperm. Other times problems start later in life due to illness or injury. For example, cystic fibrosis often causes infertility in men.