Infertility in men is the inability to conceive after at least one year of unprotected intercourse. In men, hormone disorders, illness, reproductive anatomy trauma and obstruction, and sexual dysfunction can temporarily or permanently affect sperm and prevent conception. According to the National Institutes of Health, male infertility is involved in approximately 40% of the 2.6 million infertile married couples in the United States. One-half of these men experience irreversible infertility and cannot father children, and a small number of these cases are caused by a treatable medical condition
Sperm Production & Development
Sperm development (spermatogenesis) is the process by which stem germ cells develop into mature sperm cells. It takes place inside a male’s testes, specifically in the walls of the seminiferous tubules. Spermatogenesis occurs in four stages and is essential to male reproduction:
Multiplication: Each stem cell divides to produce two cells: Type A (does not participate in spermatogenesis) Type B (Participate in spermatogenesis). Cell division produces mature sperm cells that contain one-half of a man's genetic code.
Maturation: Each spermatogenesis cycle consists of six stages and takes about 16 days to complete. Approximately five cycles are needed to produce one mature sperm.
Differentiation: is the process of transforming spermatids into mature sperm cells. Sperm cells are shaped like a long tail and are responsible for motility. The mitochondria power the cells for velocity and mobility.
Common Causes for Male Infertility
Abnormal sperm production or function:
Impaired shape can affect movement of sperms, making it unable to reach the egg
Low Sperm Concentration: Normal sperm production should contain 20 mil sperm per ml of semen.
Abnormal Testicle Condition
Hypogonadism: Hypothalamus stimulates the pituitary gland to secrete leutinizing hormone, which in turn stimulate the testes male to secrete hormones responsible for normal sexual development. Hypogonadism results from diminished secretion of these hormones and can cause low sex drive, poor development of sexual organs, low sperm count & infertility.
Klinefelter syndrome: This condition is caused by an extra X chromosome, which results in infertility, abnormal breast enlargement, and smaller than normal testes.
Certain condition, medication, and disease can also lead to male infertility:
Radiation and chemotherapy can cause defect or obstruction to the male reproductive system and impair sperm production
Disease, illness, and infections such as cystic fibrosis, kidney disease, prostate cancer, sexually transmitted disease, etc
Injury to the male reproductive system <
Certain medications to treat high blood pressure and immuno-suppressant
General Health, Lifestyle, & Environmental Exposures
The modern world has brought about a variety of changes in environment and lifestyle which can be causal to or frustrate infertility conditions.
Emotional stress can interfere with hormone production and lead to infertility.
Lack of exercise and obesity can lead to deficiency in testosterone production
Inadequate nutrition: deficiency in vitamin C, selenium, zinc and folate can lead to infertility
Alcohol and drugs can lead to ill health and infertility. Anabolic steroids can lead to shrinkage of testicles and reduced sperm production
Tobacco smoking: Men who smoke tend to have lower sperm count
Pesticides and Chemicals may cause female hormone-like effects and is associated with infertility
Activities to Avoid to Prevent Infertility
Most types of male infertility aren't preventable. However, avoid drug and tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption, which may contribute to male infertility. Also, high temperatures can affect sperm production and motility. Although this effect is usually temporary, avoid hot tubs and steam
How does Testosterone Improve Fertility?
Testosterone, or male sex hormone, plays a key role in developing and maintaining masculine sexual organ, and promotes secondary sexual characteristics, including the appearance of facial hair, sexual desire, and sexual behavior. Testosterone helps to build protein and is essential for normal sexual behavior and producing erections. It also affects bone formation, lipid metabolism, carbohydrate metabolism, and prostate gland growth. Androgens are essential for the maintenance of the cellular and integrity of the sperm duct system and may indirectly influence the viability of the spermatozoa. The increased in testosterone will stimulate glycolysis in sperm cells.
Infertility in Men is most commonly the result of either poor sperm formation or poor motility. In cases where a mechanical difficulty (blocked tubes, etc) exists, Testosterone supplementation will not be helpful.Male Factor Infertility involves a number of hormones in the androgen family. LH is directly responsible for stimulating testosterone production and spermatogenesis (production of sperm) in men. Adequate testosterone levels also have a metabolic effect that both can act on the sperm to improve motility and improve the rate of spermatogenesis. It is also cited as beneficial and necessary to the production of healthy sperm. This may be a result of the affect of testosterone on Antioxidant production. Adequate Testosterone levels also assist in the physical process of copulation.