I’m a man. Should I see a fertility specialist?
Fertility isn’t just a woman’s issue. So, when should a man see a fertility specialist?
No one wants to talk about infertility. But if you’ve been trying to conceive for a while, you may start to think: Is something wrong? Is it me?
Before you go down that emotional rabbit hole, you should know two things:
- You are not alone. Roughly 13% of couples – that’s one in eight – experience infertility. And approximately 40% of those cases involve factors associated with the male partner (source: ASRM)
- Infertility is usually treatable. There are always options to overcome whatever fertility challenges you’re experiencing and achieve your goal of having children. The first step is to identify the underlying cause.
What are some reasons a man might be infertile?
Male factors of infertility include:
- Low sperm production. This can be caused by physiological factors such as varicocele, enlarged veins in the scrotum. It can also be related to genetic factors present from birth. Finally, environmental factors such as exposure to toxins or excessive heat can also reduce sperm production.
- Abnormal sperm function. Certain health conditions or prior surgeries can interfere with the ability for sperm to develop and travel efficiently after leaving the testes. Reproductive endocrinologists will usually perform a semen analysis to look for anything unusual in the shape (morphology) or movement (motility) of your sperm.
- Blockages. Just as a woman’s fallopian tubes can be blocked (one of the main female factors of infertility), so can a man’s vas deferens. Technically, a vasectomy is a kind of blockage.
Surprisingly, even when hormone imbalances contribute to infertility, testosterone supplements are not an effective way to boost sperm production.
What are the signs of male infertility?
In many cases, infertility results from a combination of male and female factors. The best way to approach your infertility is as something for you to overcome as a couple. You’ve made the decision to build a family together with your partner, and while you may be experiencing unexpected challenges, this journey may make your connection even stronger.
When should a man see a fertility specialist?
Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after a certain length of time, which can vary by age. You’ve probably heard that a woman’s fertility declines after age 30. But you may not know that men also experience a decline in fertility, generally around age 40. If you or your partner is 40 or older and trying to conceive, we recommend talking to a fertility specialist as soon as possible. If you’re younger, but have been having unprotected, well-timed sex for 6 to 12 months, now is probably a good time to start exploring your options for fertility treatment.
You’ve already made a big step: recognizing that male infertility is real and treatable. Request a consultation with one of our fertility specialists to make the next move and take control of your future family.