Montgomery Women’s Fertility Center
3202 Tower Oaks Boulevard
Rockville, MD 20852
Infertility Male or Female?
Infertility is the inability of a sexually active couple (who is not using any contraception) to achieve pregnancy in one year. Normally, within the first six months, 65% of couples will conceive and by one year, 75% of couples will achieve a pregnancy through unprotected intercourse.
Conception is possible only during a few days in the middle of a womans menstrual cycle, when she releases her egg. The release of the egg is called ovulation. In an infertile couple, either the man or the woman may contribute to the problem.
Male infertility is the inability
to initiate a pregnancy due to a problem with the male partner. Frequently, the infertility results from an insufficient quality or quantity of sperm. Male infertility is not the same as impotence, which is the inability to have an erection.
About one in 10 American couples of reproductive age are involuntarily infertile, half because of male infertility. In another four in 10, infertility results from voluntary surgical sterilization or from diseases of medical or surgical origin. Despite the relative importance of infertility due to the male, infertility evaluations have traditionally focused on women, because while women tend to seek gynecological care, men often are reluctant to seek advice. Prompt evaluation of the male partner often can save the infertile couple time and money wasted on treatment of the female when the male partner is infertile. The problem is not uncommon. Approximately one in every five couples in the United States seeks infertility care.
The causes are known in less than half of these cases of male infertility. Known causes include
Genetic or inherited disease
Alcohol and illegal drugs, including anabolic steroids
Physical injury to the testicles
Varicose veins in the scrotum
Side effects of serious illness such as colitis, hepatitis, uremia and cancer
Infectious diseases (mumps, viruses), high fever
Blockage of the ducts that carry sperm
Sexually transmitted diseases
Hypothalamic or pituitary hormone deficiency
Other endocrine abnormalities
Adverse effects of medical or surgical treatments
Specific abnormalities in the Y chromosome
Chromosome translocations or deletions