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Male Factor Infertility

Male factor infertility refers to difficulties conceiving due to various factors related to the male reproductive system or quality of sperm. It is estimated that male factor concerns contribute to about 40% of infertility cases.

Common causes of male factor infertility

Low Sperm Count

(Oligospermia)

This is when a man’s semen contains too few sperm cells to fertilize an egg effectively.

Ejaculation Disorders

Conditions such as retrograde ejaculation, in which semen is ejaculated into the bladder instead of out of the penis, can lead to male infertility.

Varicocele

This is the enlargement of veins in the scrotum, which can increase testicular temperature and affect sperm production.

Lifestyle Factors

Certain lifestyle factors, like smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, drug use, obesity, and exposure to environmental toxins, can negatively impact sperm quality.

Abnormal Sperm Morphology

In this case, the shape and structure of the sperm are abnormal, making it difficult for them to reach and penetrate the egg.

Blockages in Reproductive Tract

Obstructions in the tubes that transport sperm can prevent sperm from being ejaculated.

Genetic Factors

Some genetic abnormalities can lead to male infertility.

Reduced Sperm Motility

This means that the sperm have difficulty moving properly or swimming, making it challenging for them to reach the egg.

Hormonal issues can affect sperm production and function.

High DNA Fragmentation Index

DNA fragmentation measures the amount of damaged DNA in a sperm sample. A higher percentage of damaged DNA strands may make it difficult to achieve and maintain pregnancy.

Treating male factor infertility

Treating male factor infertility involves a comprehensive medical evaluation by a reproductive endocrinologist or urologist, including semen analysis to check sperm quality and quantity. Treatments range from lifestyle changes and hormone therapy to surgical corrections for physical issues and assisted reproductive techniques like IUI or IVF.

Consulting a specialist is crucial for identifying and addressing the root cause of infertility. Naturopathic treatments, once a diagnosis is made, can significantly enhance sperm quality using specific supplements tailored to identified needs. An integral part of treatment is discussing lifestyle factors, such as sleep, exercise, alcohol intake, and stress management, as these can greatly impact sperm quality. Sperm cells regenerate every two months, so adhering to recommendations can lead to the production of higher quality sperm. It's essential to distinguish between 'good' and 'optimal' sperm quality, as even seemingly adequate sperm counts might need improvement for successful conception.

 

Regular review of semen analysis results is key, and for those who haven't undergone this test, timing recommendations will be discussed. In Ontario, naturopathic doctors can request a semen analysis if necessary.

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