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Community Health: Education, Prevention and Inspiration

Empowering people to make healthy, respectful and responsible choices.

Infertility

Posted by Tammi A. Tannura -

Infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant or to get a partner pregnant despite having timed, unprotected sex for at least one year. Estimates are that 10-15% of couples in the United States have difficulty achieving a pregnancy on their own.

Approximately 1/3 of infertility is caused by issues with the male partner, 1/3 is caused by issues with the female partner, and 1/3 is caused by a combination of both the male and female partner.

This blog will be divided into three parts: causes of male infertility, causes of female infertility, and infertility treatments.

Causes of Male Infertility

Did you know? Male fertility gradually declines in men older than 35.

Common causes of male infertility include low sperm count and poor sperm quality. On average, a male ejaculates 120 million to 600 million sperm per ejaculate. A man is considered infertile if he produces 20 million or less sperm per ejaculate. Because men produce millions of sperm daily, the quality of some of the sperm may be poor. Some sperm may have poor shape (two heads, short tail, no tail) or poor motility (movement). Causes of low sperm count or poor sperm quality can be a result of injury, excessive and enduring heat to the genitals, infection or radiation to the testicles (where sperm are produced). Sperm must be produced at a temperature below body temperature for optimal sperm production.

Another cause of infertility in men may be a result of anti-sperm antibodies. Anti-sperm antibodies may cause sperm to clump together. The antibodies attach to sperm and may impair motility. The antibodies may also make it difficult for sperm to penetrate cervical mucus, therefore ending its journey to meet an egg in a woman's fallopian tube. Other causes of male infertility include erectile disorders or disorders of ejaculation.

For more information, please check out the sources below.

Sources:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/infertility/DS00310

http://www.fertilitynetwork.com/articles/articles-immunological.htm

http://www.rhtp.org/fertility/infertility/default.asp#maleinfert



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