Some couples have a hard time getting pregnant. A couple is considered to have infertility issues when they try for a year without success. More than 1 out of 10 couples experience infertility.
There was a time when people thought infertility was only a woman’s problem. But men can have fertility problems, too. When a couple is having a hard time getting pregnant, it is just as likely to be caused by a problem with male fertility as it is with female fertility. That’s why both the woman and the man usually get tested for fertility problems when a couple is dealing with infertility issues.
First, it’s important to know that it can take up to a year for a woman to get pregnant. This is considered normal. Most health care providers suggest waiting a year before seeking infertility testing. If you and your partner have been trying to get pregnant for more than a year, it may be time to see your health care provider.
Some health problems may reduce a man’s ability to get a woman pregnant. You may want to see a health care provider sooner if you have a history of:
- Cystic fibrosis
- Injury or trauma to the scrotum and testes
- Problems getting an erection
- Problems ejaculating
Male infertility can be caused by various reasons, but the most common causes of male infertility are related to sperm — usually problems with sperm count and the quality of that sperm. Sperm-related problems include:
- low sperm count
- sperm that don’t move quickly enough — they die before they reach the egg
- sperm that are not formed correctly
- seminal fluid that is too thick — sperm can’t move around in it very easily
- no sperm
Sperm-related problems may result from too much or too little of some of the hormones that guide sperm making.
Another cause of male infertility is a problem with ejaculation. In some cases, tubes inside the male reproductive organs are blocked. If so, you may have a hard time ejaculating, or nothing comes out when you have an orgasm. In some cases, there is no known reason for someone’s infertility. This is called unexplained infertility. This can be a very frustrating diagnosis. But even if you are diagnosed with unexplained male infertility, you still have treatment options to consider.
Certain activities can increase infertility such as radiation treatment for cancer, excessive drugs or alcohol or cigarette use, frequent exposure to pesticides and leads, or an injury to the scrotum or testes.
While male infertility can be a frustrating and scary problem, there is treatment available. In Myanmar, it is most common for men to be given hormonal treatment or medication for infertility issues. However, artificial insemination is also used to help couples conceive. This is when sperm is taken from a man, is “washed” to separate the healthy sperm from the rest of the semen, and is then inserted into the uterus. This puts the sperm closer to the egg. It cuts down the time and distance sperm have to travel to reach an egg. Lastly, surgery is also a treatment used, but this method is usually more costly.
Depending on the reason for male infertility, the length and type of treatment used will vary. If you are someone who may feel you are dealing with infertility, please consult with a doctor.