Fertility is your ability to naturally conceive a child with your partner. Most couples with average fertility will get pregnant within one year of trying, but up to 15% of couples struggle to get pregnant naturally.
If you and your partner are having trouble getting pregnant, you might be wondering if infertility is to blame. Infertility is complex, and it can be linked to the woman’s health, the man’s health, or a combination of the two.
For men diagnosed with infertility, a blockage (or obstruction) in your reproductive system could be making it harder for you to conceive. But what causes blockages? And what are your treatment options? Now’s the time to find out.
Eric Seaman, MD, and our team at New Jersey Urology specialize in diagnosing and treating male infertility. Here, we share information about the common causes of reproductive system blockage, and how you can increase your chances of fathering a child.
How the male reproductive system works
Your reproductive system includes your testicles, epididymis, prostate, and penis, as well as a series of tubes to connect the organs to one another. The main purpose of your reproductive system is to create, store, and transport sperm, the male reproductive cells that fertilize female eggs.
Your testicles make and store sperm cells. As the cells mature, they’re combined with fluid from your prostate gland to make semen. Then, semen moves through the vas deferens tubes to your penis.
When you ejaculate during sexual intercourse, sperm exits your body. If you have unprotected penetrative sex, it’s possible that you will get your partner pregnant.
Common causes of reproductive system blockage
In order for your reproductive system to function properly, sperm must be able to travel freely through each part. Trapped sperm won’t leave your body as ejaculate, so your semen may not contain any sperm cells, resulting in infertility.
It’s possible for any part of your reproductive tract to get blocked. One possible cause of male infertility is ejaculatory duct obstruction, which is a condition that occurs when one or both sperm ducts are blocked, and sperm can’t exit your body during ejaculation.
A few of possible causes of obstruction in the male reproductive system are:
- Prior severe infection
- Inflammation or swelling
- Surgery (like a vasectomy)
- Congenital absence of the vas deferens
Pain, swelling, or difficulty ejaculating may also be signs of reproductive blockage. If you think you could be suffering from male infertility, talk with Dr. Seaman about your symptoms.
Treatment options for male infertility
As a male fertility specialist, Dr. Seaman has experience working with men of all ages who hope to father a child. He diagnoses infertility with a comprehensive exam and testing, which may include a sperm count and bloodwork.
Depending on the cause of your reproductive blockage, Dr. Seaman may recommend surgery to remove the blockage or improve the health and function of your reproductive system. Treatment could also include hormone therapy or other medication.
A popular and effective option to treat infertility caused by reproductive blockage is testicular sperm extraction. In testicular sperm extraction, Dr. Seaman collects healthy sperm from your testicles and epididymis. The sperm samples can then be used in fertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilization.
If you’ve been diagnosed with infertility, you still have options to grow your family. Contact our team to schedule your first appointment with Dr. Seaman at one of our offices in Denville or Millburn, New Jersey.