Understanding the symptom and causes of infertility
For most couples, creating a baby is a simple and natural experience, and yet it still eludes some. Where infertility is suspected, both partners will likely undergo testing for any reproductive problems and issues.
How common is male infertility?
Infertility is a widespread problem. About 20% (or one in five) of couples trying to conceive, experience a diagnosis of male infertility.
Are there any signs or symptoms?
For most men, there are no obvious signs of problems relating to fertility, as they will experience intercourse, erections and ejaculation without difficulty. Often, even the ejaculated semen generally appears “normal”, particularly in terms of volume. As a trusted fertility specialist in Brisbane, Dr Ashish Das can help you identify and diagnose undetected problems.
How does fertility and the male reproductive system work?
Most people are aware that the male reproductive system consists of the testes, a system of ducts or tubes, and glands. The testes are a pair of egg-shaped glands held within the scrotum on the outside of the body.
They have two basic roles:
- Production of sperm, and
- Production of the male sex hormone, testosterone.
Read more from our specialists on understanding the male reproductive system.
What causes male infertility?
The following must occur in order to conceive a baby:
- The testes must be producing normal healthy sperm, as well as testosterone
- The sperm that are produced must have good morphology (i.e. are properly shaped), motility (i.e. are able to move rapidly), and can accurately navigate the fallopian tubes to locate and fertilise the egg
- The ability to achieve and maintain an erection, and engage in sexual intercourse
- Normal ejaculation.
Dr Ashish Das may be able to detect causes of any problems by employing multiple diagnostic techniques. With a comprehensive background and exceptional experience as a fertility specialist in Brisbane, Dr Das ensures all patients are able to better understand their infertility situation.
What are the most common causes of male infertility?
Sperm production problems
Sperm is produced in the testes, and issues such as low sperm count, or sperm with poor morphology are experienced by around two thirds of infertile men. These issues can be discussed and diagnosed with Dr Ashish Das .
Blockage of sperm transport
Blockages (or obstructions) in the tubes that carry sperm from the testes to the penis can result in a lack of sperm in the ejaculated semen. This issue affects about 20% of infertile men, although this includes men who have had a vasectomy but now wish to reverse that decision.
In some men, antibodies may be present in the semen, which can reduce sperm movement and block the attachment of the sperm to the egg. This is less common, affecting about one in 16 infertile men; book a consultation with our Brisbane fertility specialist, Dr Ashish Das, to find out if this could be you.
Difficulties with sexual intercourse, such as getting and/or maintaining an erection, and ejaculation problems, can hamper conception. Sexual difficulties are a much less common cause of infertility.
Hormonal imbalance issues
Low testosterone levels will cause failure to produce sperm in the testes. These issues are usually related to other problems, such as pituitary gland dysfunction, and are uncommon, affecting less than 1% of infertile men.
There is still much we do not know about sperm production and fertilisation. As a result, the cause of infertility may not be identified in some men. It’s imperative that patients, who are unsure about their current fertility situation, seek the help of a specialist. Dr Das will do everything possible to identify and resolve your problem.
Diagnosis of infertility is an emotional time, and should be handled with sensitivity and confidentiality by Dr Ashish Das an experienced fertility specialist. It is important to face the journey as a couple. If a couple has been trying to get pregnant without success for 12 months, they should seek medical advice from Dr Ashish Das.
A diagnosis given by Dr Ashish Das a professional fertility specialist, will usually involve:
- A medical history to determine whether there are any pre-existing health problems or prior illnesses or injuries that could affect fertility
- A physical examination conducted by Dr Das, including a semen analysis. This will establish total volume (i.e. number), morphology (i.e. are properly shaped), and motility (i.e. are able to move rapidly) of the sperm in the ejaculate
- Blood tests may be performed to check hormone levels
- Testicular biopsy can be performed by Dr Das, to evaluate performance of early sperm production
- Genetic testing is offered.
Available treatment from Brisbane’s leading fertility specialist, Dr Das
Some of the treatable causes of male infertility include:
- Blockages of sperm transport (e.g. vasectomy)
- Hormone imbalances
- Some sexual difficulties (e.g. impotence)
- Reversible conditions (e.g. temporary damage caused by the use of anabolic steroids).
If the cause of infertility in men can be diagnosed and treated by Dr Ashish Das an experienced fertility specialist, a couple can continue to try and conceive naturally. However, it is often recommended that couples with an infertility diagnosis seek assisted reproductive technologies from a specialist, or ART (such as IVF), in order to conceive a child—please note, however, that this method is not a cure or treatment for fertility issues.