Knowing the Facts about Male Infertility Risk Factors Can Help Protect Your Fertility
The first symptom of male infertility may be a series of negative pregnancy tests. Significant problems with the female reproductive system have warning signs, such as irregular or painful periods, or other physical symptoms. Male infertility, however, can come as a surprise.
Dr. Mark Rispler sees both men and women in his Manhattan Beach fertility clinic, and recommends planning an initial consultation when both partners can be present. Infertility causes are split equally among men and women, with a 50/50 chance that male factors or female factors are causing problems with conception.
A male fertility workup will include a series of semen analyses, and a conversation with Dr. Rispler about your medical history. You may already suspect that you are at risk for male infertility, especially if you have a genetic disease associated with infertility, or a physical cause such as varicocele.
Are You at Risk for Male Infertility?
Some male infertility risk factors can’t be avoided. However, if you are planning to have a family, Dr. Rispler recommends instituting changes to protect your fertility, and mitigate the harmful effects of habits and environmental hazards that can interrupt sperm production, or permanently destroy sperm health.
One of the main causes of male infertility involves environmental and lifestyle factors.
Lifestyle Factors Causing Male Infertility
- Smoking cigarettes or marijuana decreases sperm production, impedes sperm’s ability to move and increases the number of abnormal sperm in the ejaculate.
- Heavy alcohol use has been shown to negatively impact male fertility by affecting sperm health and hormone levels.
- Anabolic steroid use can have devastating effects on reproductive hormones.
- In some cases, extreme exercise, such as long distance cycling or running, temporarily shuts down the testes ability to produce sperm.
- Illegal drug use impacts nearly every system that controls reproductive health.
Environmental Factors Causing Male Infertility
- Exposure to toxic chemicals (pesticides, lead, radiation, dioxins, etc.) has been shown to affect fertility.
- Overheating the testicles (in workplace environments such as commercial kitchens, or in saunas, hot tubs or steam rooms) should be avoided while trying to conceive.
- Chemotherapy or radiation treatment can permanently destroy reproductive function, so ask about fertility preservation prior to treatment.
Genetic Factors Causing Male Infertility
- Cystic fibrosis
- Chromosome rearrangements
- Myotonic dystrophy
- Noonan syndrome
- Other genetic disorders
Health Problems that Could Lead to Male Infertility
- Cancer treatment
- Hernia repair
- Pelvic, prostate, urinary surgery
- Sexually transmitted disease
- Testicular injury
- Undescended testicles
Protecting sperm health can be as simple as following basic guidelines for health and nutrition. When underlying causes of male infertility prevent you from starting a family, Dr. Rispler will recommend a course of treatment, from intrauterine insemination (IUI) to more advanced ICSI and in vitro fertilization (IVF). Male infertility is treatable, and in some cases preventable.
Contact Dr. Rispler to schedule a consultation and semen analysis to discuss your concerns, and identify potential causes of male infertility that stand between you and fatherhood.