To access male factor infertility, a
semen analysis must be done. Only strong, healthy sperm in
adequate numbers are capable of producing a pregnancy. As stated
before, volume, motility, viscosity, total count, and morphology
are the standards by which a semen analysis is done. The normals
for these are as follows...
- Volume should be greater than 2
- Inital motility should be greater
than 70%. After 3 hours, greater than 60%. And after 6
hours, greater than 50%.
- Viscosity (consistency of semen)
should be liquid.
- Total count should be greater than
20,000,000 per cc.
- Morphology (normal form of sperm)
should be greater than 60%. They also look for abnormal
head, tail, and immature form. It is normal to have a
small percentage of these sperm.
Male factor infertility may be the
result of several types of defect. The structure of some part of
the reproductive organs may have been askew from birth, or been
damaged by infection, drugs, or accidents. Here are some examples
- Structural Problems
- ****Varicocele--a cluster of
enlarged veins surrounding the tubes that lead from the
testicles to the penis which raises the temperature of
the area and consequently kills the sperm. ****Blockage--obstruction
of the tube that sperm passes through on the way from the
testes to the penis.
- ****Cryptorchidism--condition in
which the testes haven't descended in the scrotum.
- ****Hypospadias--abnormality which
occurs when the opening of the penis is somewhere along
the underside of the shaft, back from the tip.
- ****Mycoplasma bacteria
- Hormonal Imbalance
- ****Pituitary gland
- ****Thyroid gland
- ****Adrenal glands
- Drugs or Medications
- ****Narcotics, alcohol,
tranquilizers, some anti-depressants, and blood pressure
medications may leave a man unable to ejaculate properly
or become erect.
- ****Other drugs, such as
methotrexate (used to fight cancer, etc.), antimalaria
drugs, nitrofurantoin (an antibiotic), and marijuana can
cause abnormally low sperm production.
- Genetic Problem
Syndrome--condition in which a man is born with an extra
X--so his cells have 22 chromosome pairs, plus 2 X's and
a Y--instead of the normal 1 X and 1 Y.
- Environmental Problem
- It could be as simple as having a
job that requires alot of time sitting--driving, etc.--or
wearing tight pants or underwear. All of these lower a
man's sperm count.
This is only a partial list of
potential problems. None of the preceding are meant to be
substituted for medical attention. If you think you have a
problem, please see your physician.
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