While it takes two to make a baby, fertility treatment and preconception care is too often focused solely on the female partner. Female reproductive issues alone are responsible for only one-third of infertile couples, so it’s important not to leave men out of the equation when it comes to treating infertility and conceiving a healthy child. Whatever the reason for any struggles with fertility, it is vital that both partners support and love each other. It is not a matter of who is at fault, but rather what you can do to help one another. Below are some things to know about male fertility.
Male Fertility is Easier to Assess
While fertility assessments for women require many expensive and uncomfortable exams and tests, a man’s fertility can be evaluated with just a sperm sample and blood tests. Couples who are struggling with fertility should consider testing the male partner first to save money and possibly prevent the female partner from undergoing unnecessary procedures.
There are Fewer Treatments for Men
Although male infertility is easier to test for, the opposite is true when it comes to treatment. In fact, there is no identifiable cause of infertility for half of infertile men. One cause of male infertility that is often overlooked is low testosterone. However, testosterone replacement for men who are trying to conceive can be tricky, so consult a testosterone replacement therapy physician for guidance if you suspect you need hormone therapy. Talk frankly and openly with your doctor to see what options are available for you.
Male Infertility Can Affect Both Partners
Male infertility obviously affects female partners because they may have to choose a sperm donor in order to conceive, but many causes of infertility in men affect both partners’ reproductive health. For example, sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia, gonorrhea and genital herpes often lead to fertility problems if left untreated. Environmental and lifestyle factors like obesity, malnutrition and exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals can also cause barriers to fertility in both partners. It’s important to check for STDs regularly as part of your regular check-ups as recommended by your doctor.
Sperm Quality is Important
A lot of importance is placed on healthy eggs, but healthy sperm is just as significant. Just like eggs that are too old or damaged, poor quality sperm can also lead to genetic abnormalities or miscarriages. Fortunately, there are steps that even older men can take to improve their sperm quality. A healthy diet, exercise and taking supplements like folic acid and zinc that support genetic health can help a man conceive a healthy child with his partner.
If you and your partner are struggling with male infertility, remember that no one is to blame. Whether you decide to pursue fertility treatments, sperm donation, or adoption, there are plenty of options to help you create the family you always wanted. It’s better to work together as a couple than to break up a great relationship because of infertility. Be open with each other and your doctor, and you’ll be sure to succeed and find joy no matter your exact circumstances.