Male Infertility and Why You Should Consider Getting Tested 

Men’s Health Awareness Month, observed in June, is an important initiative aimed at raising awareness about the various health issues affecting men, including infertility. This month serves as a reminder for men to prioritize their reproductive health and take proactive steps toward addressing any concerns. By shedding light on the causes, symptoms, and available solutions for male infertility, Men’s Health Awareness Month empowers men to seek timely medical assistance and explore options such as fertility testing, treatments, or alternative family-building methods like surrogacy.

Fertility is often chalked down to being a problem reserved for women, but this is far from the truth. There are two sides to the overly-complicated equation of conception, and sometimes, it’s the men who might be getting their calculations wrong. 

Male infertility is a common cause of a couple having trouble conceiving. However, it’s important to know that, just like for women, the cause of male infertility is nobody’s fault. There are lots of factors that contribute to male infertility, and that’s why it’s so critical for men to be proactive in their reproductive health. As a man, getting your fertility tested and prioritizing your reproductive health are two things you can do to prevent potential stress and confusion down the road.  

Before we get into the details of fertility testing for men, let’s first take a look at what male fertility is and why it can happen to some families. 

What Is Male Infertility?

To put it simply, male infertility is when a man has trouble conceiving and cannot create a pregnancy with a female partner. Male infertility is the result of a problem with a man’s reproductive system. There are a few different causes for this (which we’ll get to in a bit), but, in general, male infertility happens because a man is experiencing difficulties getting a female pregnant with his sperm.  

Being able to get a woman pregnant depends on a few different factors. Essentially, a man needs to be able to: 

  1. Produce healthy sperm capable of fertilizing an egg 
  2. Maintain an erection and ejaculate in order for the sperm to reach the egg

If a man experiences problems with one of these, then it’s possible that infertility could be preventing him from starting a pregnancy with his female partner. There are different factors that contribute to problems conceiving in men, and identifying the cause of male infertility is one of the first steps you can take to identify a possible solution.  

Causes of Male Infertility

Male infertility can stem from various causes, which can significantly impact a couple’s ability to conceive. Understanding these causes is crucial in identifying potential barriers to fertility and seeking appropriate interventions.

Take a look at some of the main ways male infertility can happen: 

Your sperm count is low. Low sperm count happens when you’re not producing enough sperm to make a baby. Low sperm count could be due to a few things, like hormonal imbalances or previous infections. 

Your sperm don’t move quickly enough. Even if you have a good amount of sperm, they might not be swimming fast or well enough to make it to the finish line. This could be due to a number of things, such as genetic issues or certain medications you might be taking. 

You’re experiencing erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction is way more common for men than you may think. If you’re having trouble getting or maintaining an erection, your chances of conceiving a child can go down. That’s because erectile dysfunction can prevent you from being able to keep an erection, thus preventing you from completing sexual intercourse and successfully fertilizing an egg. 

You’ve developed varicoceles: These are large and twisted veins that affect the blood supply in the testicles. Similar to varicose veins, which people can get in their legs, varicoceles often have no symptoms, so you might not even know you have them. Varicoceles can reduce your sperm count and affect your fertility.  

You don’t always take care of yourself. Things like smoking, consuming a lot of alcohol, and using drugs can all have a negative impact on your fertility. Not taking care of yourself properly can prevent you from making enough healthy sperm.  

Benefits of Early Testing and Diagnosis

If you’re in the process of starting a family and are concerned about male infertility, consider getting tested. Getting your fertility tested and receiving a diagnosis can help you pinpoint the best solution for your specific situation. Struggling with infertility can be incredibly stressful and become a source of anxiety. However, testing can help you start taking the steps you need to reach your family-building goals while also giving you a greater sense of control over the situation. 

If you have your fertility tested and your results come back with a diagnosis, then you can begin working toward a possible treatment or start considering alternatives for growing your family. If you find out early on that you’re having fertility issues, you can start exploring all of your options right away. Depending on your results, you may consider pursuing options you might not have thought of before, like utilizing a sperm donor, which is a great solution for men who experience infertility. 

Getting tested for male infertility may even help with your relationship, particularly in terms of communication. It’s pretty well-known that going through infertility can be tough on any relationship, but if you and your partner are on the same page about getting tested and seeking treatment, it can help you feel more connected and supported throughout the process.  

Deciding to use a sperm donor can be a difficult decision. The number of sperm donors available allows you to find a good match, in appearance, ethnic background and personality traits. We have client services representatives ready to help with the selection process. Sperm donors have been extensively screened and their semen quality must pass a high standard. In addition, they are tested for infectious and genetic diseases to increase the chances of a healthy outcome.

Suzanne Seitz, MS, Genetic Counselor at Fairfax Cryobank

How to Get Tested

Getting tested for male infertility usually starts with your primary care doctor. Typically, you’ll have a physical exam and talk to your doctor about your medical history. This includes talking about past family members that may have struggled with fertility, what your sexual development was like when you were going through puberty, and what kind of health conditions you may have that could impact your fertility. Your doctor might then make recommendations for how to further test your fertility. This can be done in a few different ways.  

Here are some of the most common ways male infertility is tested: 

Semen analysis: This is the most common test for male infertility. This test will have you provide a semen sample, which is then analyzed in a lab to check the number, shape, and motility, or the ability to move, of the sperm. 

Hormone testing: This test measures the levels of certain hormones in your blood, including testosterone, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH). Abnormal levels of these hormones might point to an issue with your fertility. 

Testicular biopsy or ultrasound: In some cases, a small sample of testicular tissue may be taken to look for any issues that could be affecting sperm production. Your doctor might also recommend an ultrasound of your scrotum, which helps pinpoint potential physical issues with your reproductive system. 

Genetic testing: If your sperm count is really off, a genetic issue might be at play. Genetic testing can help identify genetic issues that could be contributing to your infertility. With this test, your doctor would have a blood test done to look for genetic mutations, often on your Y chromosome, that could be the cause of your fertility issues.  

Discover Your Path to Parenthood with Fairfax Surrogacy

If you’re facing the challenges of male infertility, know that you’re not alone. Taking proactive steps toward understanding and addressing male infertility is crucial for your journey to parenthood. By getting your fertility tested and exploring possible solutions, you can regain control and increase your chances of starting a family. If you’re considering surrogacy as a viable option, our experienced team at Fairfax Surrogacy is here to support you every step of the way. We would be happy to walk you through our process and explain your options for growing your family. Contact us today to learn more about the surrogacy process and discuss the options available to help you fulfill your dream of becoming a parent.