Often as a society, we talk about how women can improve their fertility - such as through getting adequate sleep, reducing stress, and exercising regularly. However, 40-50% of all infertility can actually be traced back to the male factor. Despite this fact, male infertility isn’t often discussed within the realm of TTC and babymaking. So while prioritizing female fertility remains essential, exploring the topic of male infertility is also important in order to help more couples on their journey start or grow a family.
While it may seem a bit overwhelming, it is important to get to the bottom of any potential fertility issues, especially if you suspect you or your partner may be experiencing them. However, before you jump to any conclusions, you may want to know a bit more information about the different causes of male infertility, which range from medical to environmental and lifestyle. Below we’re going into detail on these causes, because chances are -- with every one in eight couples experiencing difficulty getting pregnant -- it may affect you or someone you know.
Causes of Male Infertility
If you suspect the male factor could be playing a role in your difficulty getting pregnant, keep reading, because we’re diving into the medical, environmental, and lifestyle causes of male infertility. From there, once you know what may be affecting you and your partner’s fertility, you’ll be one step closer to addressing the cause and ultimately reaching your fertility goals.
Just like with female infertility, many causes of male infertility are medical. Some potential medical causes of male infertility may include:
- Certain infections
- Varicocele, which occurs when the veins that drain the testicle begin to swell
- Ejaculation issues
- Hormone imbalances
- Sexual intercourse issues, such as erectile disfunction
- Chromosome defects
- Celiac disease
- Certain medications
- Prior surgeries
Male infertility may also be caused by some environmental factors, as certain toxins, chemicals, and heat can affect sperm function and/or production. If your partner or someone you know is struggling with male infertility, it may be worth looking into the following environmental factors to see if they could be contributing to the issue:
- Industrial chemicals, such as pesticides and paint materials
- Radiation or X-rays
- Heavy metal exposure
- Overheating the testicles, which can happen through frequent use of saunas or hot tubs, wearing tight clothing, sitting for long periods, or working on a laptop for long stretches.
If you are exposed to any of these environmental factors and actively TTC, it may be smart to eliminate or reduce your exposure, if possible. After all, you don’t want anything getting in the way of baby dancing!
If you’ve ruled out every potential medical and environmental cause of your male infertility, it may be worth taking a look at your lifestyle choices. Check out some of the factors below that may affect fertility:
- Drug use
- Tobacco use
The many causes of male infertility may seem daunting, don’t panic! A physician should be able to ask a series of questions that will help get to the bottom of the cause of your potential fertility issues fairly quickly.
Male Infertility Myth!
While there are numerous male infertility causes, there is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine is one of them! Green Bay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers recently made headlines regarding some comments he made about the vaccine and his fertility, but don’t panic - this is actually a myth, and one less thing that we need to worry about!
My Partner Might Be Infertile. Now What?
Don’t hesitate to call your doctor if you suspect the male factor may be playing a role in your inability to get pregnant. Once you identify the cause of your infertility and treat it, you and your partner will be well on your way to babymaking. In fact, you will likely want to do everything you can to optimize your chances of getting pregnant. OvuSense can be an incredibly helpful tool to track ovulation and identify your fertility window, giving you the best possible chance of conception. Click here to learn more about which solution in the OvuSense fertility monitoring family is right for you. Additionally, you and your partner may want to try using OvuSense in combination with ExSeed, an at-home sperm testing kit, for a complete monitoring solution.
Stay tuned for the second part of our two-part male infertility series, where we discuss how to improve male fertility.