The complexity of male infertilty

Infertility is a generic term that is applied to any patient having trouble conceiving.  For men, male infertility is actually a complex diagnosis, whose origin isn’t easily identified.

Below are common sources of male infertility:

Varicocele.  A condition characterized by improper blood flow in the spermatic cord veins, leading to dilation and enlargement of the vessels.  Sometimes symptoms will be present, which include dilated and visible veins in the scrotum or a painless bump within the testicles and scrotum.  Treatment usually involves surgically removing the large veins.

Oligospermia and azoospermia.  Low sperm count is typically a sperm measurement lower than 20 million sperm per milliliter semen.  Low or no sperm count may be caused by a number of factors, including overheating of the testicles, stress, drug abuse, smoking, nutritional deficiencies and obesity.

Low sperm motility.  Normal sperm motility is important for sperm to navigate the female reproductive tract and fertilize the egg.  Normal motility is defined as having 50% of sperm in the semen being able to move through the cervical mucus and penetrate the egg.  If the ratio is higher, it can be difficult for conception to occur.

Abnormal sperm.  The size and shape of sperm are also important for efficient fertilization to occur.  At least 50% of the sperm need to be of normal size and shape to be considered normal.

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