Cork Natural Fertility Clinic

Male Infertility

Common causes of male infertility include abnormal sperm production or function, impaired delivery of sperm, conditions related to a man's general health and lifestyle, and overexposure to certain environmental elements:

Abnormal sperm production or function. Most cases of male infertility are due to sperm abnormalities, such as:

  • Impaired shape and movement of sperm. Sperm must be properly shaped and able to move rapidly and accurately toward the egg for fertilization to occur. If the shape and structure (morphology) of the sperm are abnormal or the movement (motility) is impaired, sperm may not be able to reach the egg.

  • Absent sperm production in testicles. Complete failure of the testicles to produce sperm is rare, affecting very few infertile men.

  • Low sperm concentration. A normal sperm concentration is greater than or equal to 20 million sperm per milliliter of semen. A count of 10 million or fewer sperm per milliliter of semen indicates low sperm concentration (subfertility). A count of 40 million sperm or higher per milliliter of semen indicates increased fertility.

  • Varicocele. A varicocele is a varicose vein in the scrotum that may prevent normal cooling of the testicle and raise testicular temperature, preventing sperm from surviving.

  • Undescended testicle (cryptorchidism). This occurs when one or both testicles fail to descend from the abdomen into the scrotum during fetal development. Undescended testicles can cause mild to severely impaired sperm production. Because the testicles are exposed to the higher internal body temperature compared to the temperature in the scrotum, sperm production may be affected.

  • Testosterone deficiency (male hypogonadism). Infertility can result from disorders of the testicles themselves, or an abnormality affecting the hypothalamus or pituitary glands in the brain that produce the hormones that control the testicles.

  • Erectile Dysfunction

    Also known as impotence, erectile dysfunction refers to a man's inability to achieve and maintain an erection. While a man experiencing erectile dysfunction may think he is the only one having this type of problem, the reality is that an estimated 25 to 30 million men will encounter impotence during their lifetime. Despite the fact that impotence can make it nearly impossible to conceive a child, erectile dysfunction is generally not credited as a cause of infertility. This is because impotence causes are normally the result of underlying factors that need to be addressed.

    With age, the quality of a man's erection and orgasm will change. It is not uncommon for older men to find it harder to achieve an erection and therefore rely on impotence medications. In younger men, though, sustaining an erection should generally not be difficult. While stress or illness may cause a man to experience temporary impotence, this type of erectile dysfunction should not last for too long. However, if impotence seems to be becoming a permanent problem, then it is necessary for the problem to be medically assessed.

    In the past, as much as 80% of impotence causes were credited to psychological problems, such as fears and inhibitions. Nowadays, though, psychological causes, including stress, depression and anxiety, are seen to account for only 10% to 20% of erectile dysfunction cases. A further 70% of chronic impotence cases can be traced back to diseases, like kidney disease, alcoholism and diabetes, which can restrict blood flow to the penis. Other erectile dysfunction causes include the use of illicit and prescription drugs, including certain antidepressants and high blood pressure medications.

    Men with spinal cord or brain injuries or some other type of nerve disorder may also find that maintaining or even achieving an erection is difficult. This is because their nerve impulses may be impaired thereby preventing the brain and penis from communicating properly. Radiation therapy, pelvic injury and surgery can also cause a man to be confronted with chronic impotence.

    Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture can provide a safe natural alternative to helping men with this disorder. The practitioner makes a diagnosis based on Chinese medical theory, and then determines whether acupuncture or herbal medicine or a combination of both would be the best means of treatment.

    According to Chinese Medical theory there are two main causes to this disorder. The disorders are determined by the other signs and symptoms that are presented in addition to erectile dysfunction.

    Traditional Chinese medical treatments can be very effective if treatment is pursued early. Both acupuncture and herbal therapy take a holistic approach accounting for mental, physical and environmental aspects.

    When you think of erectile dysfunction, acupuncture is usually not the first thing that comes to mind. Many assume it would be a painful alternative to traditional treatments. Quite the contrary, acupuncture is not used locally to treat this particular disorder. Because the energy pathways run all along your entire body, acupuncture points on the extremities, abdomen and back are used to successfully relieve this condition.