More than 15% of couples are infertile. That means they are not able to have a child, even after frequent, unprotected sexual intercourse for a year or longer. The fact is male infertility plays a major role in over one-third of these couples. Male infertility might be due to low sperm production or abnormal sperm function, or blockages preventing the sperm delivery.

Researchers say that it is evident that semen quality is decreasing over the past decades. This finding seems to be fairly consistent, but the cause of this rapid change yet to be proven. The rate of change observed in semen quality may be due to many factors which include, genetic factors, lifestyle choices, environmental exposures, Illnesses, trauma, chronic health issues, and some other factors that might contribute to male infertility.

Male fertility is a complicated process. However, to make your partner conceive, the following are important factors:

  • A man should produce healthy sperm: Initially, this includes proper growth and formation of reproductive organs in men during puberty. A minimum of one testicle must function correctly along with the proper production of testosterone and other hormones that trigger and maintain healthy sperm production.
  • The Sperm produced has to be carried mixed with semen: The produced sperm in the testicles is transported through delicate tubes mixed with semen before ejaculating out of the penis.
  • The quantity of sperm in the semen is important: If the sperm count is lower than 15 million per millilitre of semen or less than 39 million per ejaculate. It decreases the probabilities of your sperm to fertilize your partner’s egg.
  • Quality of sperm: The sperm quality is important i.e. it must be functional and active. If the motility or function of the sperm is unusual, the sperm can’t reach or penetrate your partner’s egg to conceive.

Environmental causes of male fertility

Environmental factors have a possible explanation for decreasing the quality and quantity of sperm. Overexposure to specific environmental elements can reduce sperm production and affect sperm function. Some of the specific causes include:

  • Industrial chemicals: Exposure to certain chemicals like benzenes, xylene, synthetic pesticides, herbicides, organic solvents might result in low sperm counts.
  • Exposure to heavy metal: working in the environment of lead or other heavy metals might also result in infertility.
  • Radiation or X-rays: Radiation exposure can decrease sperm production. But in some cases of lower exposure, often it will return to normal eventually. If you are exposed to high doses of radiation, the production of sperm can be reduced permanently.
  • Overheating of testicles: High temperatures reduce the production of sperm count and it’s functions. Even though clinical studies are limited and are inconclusive, usage of hot tub baths and working with systems frequently might result in your sperm count temporarily.

Sitting for an extended period of time, wearing tight clothes, or working with a laptop for a long time can also increase the temperature of the testicles that may reduce the production of sperm.

Social factors affecting male fertility

  • Usage of drugs or steroids: Some people prefer using anabolic steroids to stimulate muscle growth and strength which has the risk of shrinking the testicles and diminishes sperm production. Using drugs like cocaine or marijuana might reduce the quantity and as well as the quality of sperm temporarily.
  • Alcohol use: Alcohol consumption can lower levels of testosterone resulting in erectile dysfunction, and lowers sperm production. Liver diseases as a result of excessive drinking of alcohol can lead to fertility problems.
  • Tobacco smoking: It is a popular belief that men who smoke have lower levels of sperm production than people who do not smoke. Even secondhand smokers also suffer from male infertility.
  • Emotional stress: Stress can cause many problems and infertility is one among them. Stress intervenes with certain hormonal functions required to produce sperm. Severe or prolonged emotional stress, including problems with fertility, can affect your sperm count.
  • Depression: It is believed that the likelihood of pregnancy becomes lower if the male partner encounters severe depression. Depression in men might result in a reduction of libido, erectile dysfunction, or delayed ejaculation.
  • Excess Weight: Obesity or extra weight can reduce fertility in many ways, which include the impact on sperm functions directly and also causes hormonal changes that damage the fertility of men.

Certain occupations like welding or work that involved sitting for a long time, like driving might increase the risk of infertility. However, technology has developed in such a way to solve most of the infertility issues. For information consult our fertility experts at Angel’s fertility clinic in Hyderabad.