Learn > Diagnosis > Male Factor Infertility
The Male Side of Infertility
When couples come to us with infertility challenges, we always test the male because forty percent of infertility cases are traced to the male partner. The guys are often surprised when we tell them that the potential “he” problems can be physical abnormalities, poor sperm production ejaculatory problems or immunological disorders, among other things.
Infertility, obviously, isn’t just a “she” problem. Men often are not as focused on fertility issues because they feel it is traditionally a woman’s concern. That can pose challenges if the male partner finds it difficult to commit to the treatment process.
The good news is that it is usually easier to test the male. A semen analysis generally reveals any challenges on the male side, and we’ve made great strides in treating male infertility.
Most of the time, it is the female partner who initiates the infertility quest. Often, we find that men are reluctant to be evaluated. In fact, it is rare for a man to come in for a fertility test on his own. Still, it is important to avoid the “blame game.”
It has been estimated that nearly 50% of the cases of male infertility are not explained. Yet, thanks to modern assisted reproductive techniques, it is still likely that even in those cases, the couples will successfully conceive and have a healthy child. Medical science has been advancing rapidly in its understanding of male infertility. As we learn more about sperm DNA and the molecular mechanisms of fertilization, we expect more treatments will be available to assist conception.
Women are more accustomed to discussing personal issues with their physicians so men often need coaxing and support to discuss suspected fertility challenges. Your medical team should understand this and offer assistance and support. Your doctor will need honest answers to questions including success or failure to conceive with previous partners, history of sexually transmitted diseases or drug abuse. All these factors may impact the patient’s ability to father children.
One of the most important things to remember is that both partners should be present at your medical appointments, especially in the initial phases because there will be questions for you both. Most men acknowledge that they aren’t the best at sharing information or relaying it either. That is why it is essential for both partners to participate.
For more in-depth information, please check our book If At First You Don’t Conceive.