When a couple has trouble getting pregnant, it’s common to assume that the woman’s fertility is the reason. Many women regularly visit their OB/GYN and may be more likely to openly discuss concerns about infertility, but the truth is that it affects both men and women.
Of all the couples who struggle with the inability to conceive, male infertility is nearly as likely to be the cause as female infertility is. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding the signs and causes of male infertility, but there shouldn’t be.
Eric Seaman, MD and our team are experts in understanding and treating male infertility. Today, we’re debunking some of the most common myths about male infertility and helping you learn more about what could be impacting your ability to have a baby.
Myth: Infertility isn’t common in men
Infertility affects up to 15% of couples. In general, infertility is diagnosed when a couple has regular unprotected sex for at least a year without getting pregnant. It’s common for women to assume that infertility is their problem, because pregnancy occurs in the female body. Men may not consider the role their fertility plays in successfully conceiving.
Fact: Infertility affects men and women equally
Infertility linked to the man is equally as likely as female infertility in a couple that’s struggling to conceive, and one in 25 men experiences male infertility. About 30% of all infertility cases are caused by a male factor and another 30% are the result of a female factor.
The remaining 30-40% of infertility instances are either a combination of male and female infertility or the exact cause is unclear. If you and your partner are experiencing infertility, it’s very important that both of you visit the doctor to get an accurate diagnosis.
Myth: Sperm quality is the only factor in male fertility
A sperm cell and egg unite during conception to begin pregnancy. High-quality sperm is necessary for conception, and many people think that it’s the only factor affecting male fertility. If a man has semen that appears normal, it’s easy to assume that sperm is healthy, and he doesn’t have fertility problems.
Fact: Overall health influences fertility
Sperm quality is a crucial element of male fertility, but it’s not the only factor. Low sperm count or low-quality sperm are common causes of male infertility, but overall health is important, too.
Hormone levels, testicle health, and certain medications can impact your fertility. Additionally, being overweight or obese, smoking, and drinking alcohol can negatively affect fertility. Semen analysis is often Dr. Seaman’s first recommendation when diagnosing male infertility, but it’s also accompanied by a physical exam to rule out other potential causes.
Myth: Age isn’t a factor in male fertility
It’s well-known that a woman’s fertility declines as she gets older and ends completely when she enters menopause. Because men don’t get pregnant or go through menopause, many people assume that men can father children at any age and that male fertility doesn’t decline with age.
Fact: Male fertility declines with age
Age doesn’t impact male fertility in exactly the same way as female infertility, but it does play a role. Sperm count and sperm quality gradually decrease as you get older. In fact, men over the age of 40 are 30% less likely to conceive within a year of trying than men who are under 30.
Since overall health influences fertility, some health conditions that are common with age also affect fertility as you get older. Erectile dysfunction, certain cancers, and other health conditions are more common in older men and can impact your fertility if you’re trying to have a child later in life.
If you and your partner are struggling to conceive, Dr. Seaman can help. Offering the best in male infertility evaluations and treatments, he’s here to help you grow your family. Request an appointment online or call our office in Millburn, New Jersey, today to learn more.