What Is Male Infertility?

By Nathan Hapyan

Photo credit: iStockphoto
The term "infertility" is thrown around a lot, but it pays to remember that it can easily take up to a year for a normal couple to get pregnant. As such, infertility is typically said to be the inability to conceive a child after 12 months of unprotected intercourse. The statistics say that about 85% of couples will successfully conceive within this amount of time. The statistics also say that about 15% of couples trying to conceive are deal with some form of infertility, with 40-50% of those cases being due to male infertility. So if you've been diagnosed with some form of male infertility, do not despair, you are far from alone and many options are available to you. The standard forms of male infertility are due to one, or several of the issues of low sperm count, low sperm motility, and poor sperm morphology. In a smaller portion of cases, a physical obstruction or blockage can prohibit normal sperm delivery.

It is important to understand what each of the sperm related terms means.

Sperm Motility
Sperm motility is the ability of the sperm to move forward towards an egg. This is the sperm's "forward progress."

Sperm Count
Sperm count measures the concentration of sperm in a man's ejaculate. Over 15 million sperm per milliliter is considered normal, yet the average today is between 20-40 million. These numbers are just a guideline, and especially with today's technology, men are able to conceive within a wide range of sperm counts.

Sperm Morphology
Sperm morphology refers to the size and shape of the sperm. Certain sizes and shapes of sperm are better at fertilizing an egg than others. It is estimated that up to 10% of sperm has observable defects and will have difficulties fertilizing an egg. It is important to know that sperm morphology is the easiest, and cheapest thing a man can change in terms of his fertility. Basically, the healthier you are the better your morphology. This means eat right, have great morphology.

It is important to remember that successful fertilization relies on a balance of these three factors. Low motility in a high sperm count is not ideal; whereas if you have high motility in a low sperm count you may have no problems conceiving. Also, it will take around 3 months to see changes in these things since it takes about 2 and a half months to grow new sperm.

Here are 6 classifications of male infertility you may have heard about:

  • Oligospermia - "low sperm count", or low concentration of spermatozoa in the semen
  • Aspermia - complete lack of semen
  • Hypospermia - reduced seminal volume
  • Azoospermia - absence of sperm cells in semen
  • Teratospermia - increase in sperm with abnormal morphology
  • Asthenozoospermia - reduced sperm motility

Stay Positive
Being diagnosed with male infertility can be devastating. Believe me, I know. However, the more you learn, the better you will be able to deal with it, and hopefully overcome it. When you make the commitment to undergo treatment, you will be subject to frequent invasive testing and observation. As hard as this will be, keeping a healthy baby in sight will make this part easier. We as humans have an instinct to procreate and often have feelings of insecurity and insufficiency when this basic process does not work. If I get one thing across to you in this article, it is that infertility, both male and female, is very common and can be overcome. Good luck with your journey.

You've only just started your education on male infertility. For a whole lot more head on over to http://ivf-info.org/infertility-male-infertility where the http://ivf-info.org team have written many informative articles. Also, if there is something not explained in the articles there, please don't hesitate to ask on the IVF Forums.
Article Source: What Is Male Infertility?

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