Men’s role in difficulties getting pregnant

July 25, 2019 | Yesmom

Yes Mom

Asst. Prof. Dr. Supakdee Julvijitipong, the chairman of the Reproductive Medicine Subcommittee in the Royal Thai College of the Obstetricians and Gynecologists, explained why the male partner can be the obstacle to pregnancy.

“Some people misunderstand that ejaculating with less fluid is the sign of a problem, which is completely wrong.”
First of all, it is necessary to understand that semen contains sperm and seminal plasma. The sperm is produced in the testicles while the plasma is from the prostate. These two will be released at the same time. Most people understand that ejaculation with less plasma means abnormality, which is a complete misunderstanding, as the key factor is the sperm.

“Getting pregnant easily or with difficulty depends on the sperm, not the plasma.”
One of the two key factors for getting pregnant is the amount of sperm, which, normally, a man should have at least 20 million sperm per cc. Dr. Supakdee stated that a man who can impregnate naturally have more sperm than the average, which could be around 20-80 million sperm per cc. In some cases, the amount can go up to 100 million. The second factor is the sperm swimming rate. In order to fertilize successfully and naturally, the swimming rate of the total amount of sperm should be over 40-50%.

“I don’t want everyone to worry that the out-of-shape sperm will affect the pregnancy too much.”
The shape of sperm is the details needed to be specially analyzed. If someone told you the percentage of the abnormal sperm morphology, just don’t worry about it too much. The percentage can barely tell anything.

“There is a theory stated that a higher temperature will affect sperm production. But is it the main factor? The answer: only the minor one.”
Many have heard that the sauna can cause infertility in men, which is untrue. Dr.Supakdee explained that the normal body temperature is 37 Celsius degrees, while the temperature in testicles is 36 Celsius degrees. The external temperature might affect the sperm morphology or the sperm swimming rate, but not enough to cause infertility.

“Some reports showed what factors can affect sperm production in testicles. And the obvious ones are smoking and drinking.”
However, smoking, drinking, and taking chemotherapy will definitely affect sperm production in testicles. It also reduces the effectiveness of assisted reproductive technology. Quitting these behaviors might help to prevent the situation from getting worse. But don’t forget that fertility does not depend on the overall quality of the sperm alone.

“Assessing if the sperm is capable enough to fertilize is needed to be done on the bigger picture, not just from a single aspect.”
To indicate if a man is naturally fertility or not, the doctor needs to assess all of the factors. Not only the amount of sperm, swimming rate, and shape, the doctor also needs to include other factors in the assessment such as the period of time that a certain person has been trying for a baby, contraception, age, and any problem causing infertility in a female partner.

But if the result is normal without significant issue, the doctor will not be able to specify the pregnancy chance, except there are obvious abnormalities in sperm.

“It solely depends on testicles. Not the mental nor physical health.”
Dr. Supakdee always repeated that sperm is the key factor of pregnancy. The health condition, body shape, sexual performance, or mental health will not make you have a baby easier as the sperm is produced from the testicles. Plus, the sperm-related problem is a genetic issue which cannot be analyzed, fixed, or changed at all.

“The best solutions are accepting the truth and directly fixing the problem itself.”
At this point, we asked Dr. Supakdee if there is a way out for the person with abnormal sperm. The first thing he said is the patient needs to accept the truth that he cannot have a baby naturally. But it is necessary to understand that the abnormalities in sperm do not relate to sexual performance and any physical health problem. So the patient can continue their daily life, have sexual intercourse, and have a family without any problem. 

Secondly, the patient needs to understand that there is no cure to make the sperm become normal. But if the patient wants to have a baby, they can try the assisted reproduction technology, which has helped many couples to achieve their dreams. The problem will end once they have a baby. Happy ending.