Male Infertility Causes Undue Stress!

Dr. Kelton Tremellen, a fertility expert based in Australia, summarized the major male infertility causes in his article, "Oxidative Stress and Male Infertility" as follows:

Risk Factors of Male Infertility
  1. IDIOPATHIC (unknown cause)
  2. IATROGENIC (caused by doctor)
    • smoking
    • alcohol
    • obesity
    • stress
    • advanced paternal age
    • poor diet
    • heat
    • pollution
    • heavy metals
    • plasticizers
    • pesticide
    • herbicides
  • genito-urinary tract
  • systemic infection (e.g. AIDS)


Let's review:

1. IDIOPATHIC causes of infertility is the same as unexplained infertility.

2. IATROGENIC cause, on the other hand, is anything that is caused by the doctor. It may be intended or not.

Example of an iatrogenic cause of infertility is centrifugation. Centrifugation of sperm is done by doctors to separate the spermatozoa from the rest of the semen for in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intrauterine insemination.

Medications prescribed by doctors can likewise be a cause of infertility.

3. One of the most common male infertility causes is LIFESTYLE.

  • Smoking destroys the sperm thereby impairing fertility.
  • Alcohol or drug dependency affects sperm morphology and is in general, bad for the health.
  • Obesity is associated with fertility problems both for men and women.
  • Stress, be it emotional or psychological, can impair fertility. Even having infertility is a cause of stress itself.
  • Advanced paternal age, usually above age 40, correlates to diminished fertility.
  • Poor diet, particularly deficiencies of Vit. C, zinc, selenium and folate, decreases the chance of conception to occur.

4. ENVIRONMENTAL causes of male infertility such as heat (as in saunas and hot tubs) may affect the testicles, thereby, reducing sperm production.

Pollution can also impair fertility because of too much free radicals, more than the body can handle.

Heavy metals particularly lead can impair testicular function or alter the hormones. The same is true for plasticizers, pesticides, and herbicides.

5. INFECTIONS of the genito-urinary tracts obviously affect fertility. AIDS is a disease that not only affects fertility but all the bodily functions as well.

6. AUTOIMMUNE causes of infertility are those in which our own body produces antibodies that kill our own cells.

  • It is found in several studies that seminal antibodies are formed after vasectomy reversal. These antibodies attack sperm cells, thereby, impairing fertility.
  • Torsion of the spermatic cord (condition where blood supply to the testicles is cut-off) produces oxidative stress that leads to death of the germinal cells.
  • Men with Chronic prostatitis (persistent inflammation of the prostate) develop antibodies attack seminal or prostate antigens.

7. TESTICULAR male infertility causes are the following:

testes surface showing vas deferens

  • Varicoceles are varicose veins inside the testes that may impair sperm production
  • Men with undescended testicles (failure of one or both testicles to descend from the abdomen to the scrotum during fetal development) are exposed to high internal body temperature. Because of this, their sperm production maybe affected.
  • Testosterone deficiency can result to infertility since testosterone is a major hormone of the male reproductive system.
  • Inflammation of the testicles, whether work or sports-related, affect fertility. It can also be caused by mumps, a viral infection, if it occurs after puberty.
8. Chronic diseases such as diabetes, chronic renal failure, hemoglobinopathies and hyperhomocysteinaemia produce too much oxidative stress in men, thereby impairing their fertility.

Male infertility causes should be reviewed when infertility is suspected. This is especially true for couples who want to have a baby.

Most often than not, changing the man's lifestyle, improving his diet (that include glutathione supplements) and simply reducing stress in his life will greatly improve the chances of conception.

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REFERENCES: Causes of Infertility. Retrieved Nov. 13,2009, from Advanced Fertility Institute of San Diego website.

Major causes of Infertility(chart). Retrieved Nov. 14, 2009, from Baby Center Philippines website.

Mayo Clinic Staff. Infertility Causes. Retrieved Nov. 15,2009, from website.

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