The male reproductive system seems fairly straightforward. No precisely tuned monthly cycle. Not nearly the mileage of plumbing that you find in the average female. Only one product: sperm. Still, there is still a surprising amount that can go wrong with the works. Fortunately, many of the biggest problems can be overcome either at home or with the help of a physician. Below are the most common causes of male infertility issues. You can also take our online test to find out if you have any major risk factors.
Surprisingly, one of the biggest issues that can cause low sperm count and fertility problems in guys is how you treat your body. Poor diet. Lack of exercise. Obesity. Stress. All of these can take a hammer to your count and motility which adds up to another month of waiting to have a kid. The good news is you can do something about it. Try the best you can to eat right, hit the gym, and chill out.
Don’t cook your balls. Seriously, anything that causes you to overheat down there can have a big effect on your fertility. If you are trying to have a kid get the laptop off of your lap, skip the hot tub or sauna at the gym (you are going right?), turn down the temp on the shower. Fortunately, if you turn down the heat, your guys will recover in time. According to a recent scientific paper, cutting out the hot tub for a couple of months can increase your sperm count by 600%!
We guys are a lot simpler than the women folk, but there are still some pipes under the hood. A blockage or misdirection of a critical tube and you might not get your boys to where they are needed. Many of these problems can be corrected with the help of a physician. If you want to know more, check out our primer on guys anatomy.
The second commandment following “don’t cook your balls” might be “don’t poison your balls”. An occasional drink is fine and might help you get in the mood to make a baby, but don’t get hammered. Alcohol may or may not kill brain cells, but enough of it does kill sperm. Cut out the smoking too, and try not to pop more pills than Johnny Depp. Drugs, both the respectable variety and the shady variety can leave you (and the missus) waiting for the stork. You might also want to avoid touching any chemical that smells like it belongs in a lab rather than your house. We have compiled an exhaustive list of stuff to avoid when you are trying.
Cancer is one of those things in life that we wish simply never happened. Unfortunately this terrible scourge can also effect your fertility. Sometimes permanently. Testicular cancer is obviously bad for sperm counts, but the treatments we use to kill cancer cells are also damaging to the cells that become sperm. If you are slated to go on radiation or chemotherapy and might want to have your own kids in the future, talk to your doctor about options for preserving some sperm for posterity. If you have already survived cancer, there are specialists we can recommend. We salute you.
It turns out women aren’t the only ones that can become hormonally imbalanced. Your testicles need the right signals from your body to keep cranking out good sperm. If you turn out to have a low sperm count or low motility, there are treatments that can correct these imbalances. Anabolic steroids, popular with bodybuilders, wreck absolute havoc on a man’s hormonal balance and can send your count all the way to zero. See our section on resources for more information.
Rarely, there is an issue in your genes that prevents or blocks sperm production. Sometimes this can be corrected as with guys with Cystic Fibrosis, which causes a natural vasectomy that can be reversed. We are glad to hear modern treatments are allowing men with CF to live fulfilling lives and even have children. Other genetic wrinkles that can cause male infertility are Klinefelter syndrome, Young’s sydrome, Kartagener syndrome, and Kallmann’s syndrome.
Sometimes a problem with having a kid can come down to misfiring. The stress of trying can take the romance out of your relationship. A surprising number of conception problems come down to trouble making the connection. See our section on resources or talk to the helpful people in our forum if you would like help. You are not alone.