The reproductive cell of the male body carrying genetic information is a sperm cell. It is he who, when merged with the egg, gives rise to the development of the embryo. However, in some cases, the meeting of these two gametes does not occur.
The following forms of male infertility are distinguished:
- secretory – characterized by a decrease in the number or deterioration of sperm quality;
- obstructive – is the presence of obstacles to the promotion of sperm;
- autoimmune – in this case, there is a violation of the hematotesticular barrier with the subsequent development of antisperm antibodies.
This form of male infertility is characterized by a violation of the sperm production process. As a result, male germ cells may have defects in the structure of the head and motor apparatus (asthenozoospermia), which does not allow them to participate in the process of fertilization of the egg. A sharp decrease in the number of sperm in the ejaculate (oligospermia) or their complete absence (azoospermia) is also possible.
Among the most common causes of the secretory form of male infertility, experts call the following:
- Varicocele – with the development of this disease, there is a violation of blood flow in the testicular tissue. Severe blood stasis causes compression of the testicular tissue, which disrupts the synthesis of sperm (see Methods of treatment of varicocele);
- Dropsy of the testicle – in this case, excess fluid accumulates in the scrotum. As with varicocele, mechanical compression and impaired blood supply to the testicular tissue lead to the development of a secretory form of male infertility;
- Cryptorchidism – if one or both testicles is not allowed into the scrotum, the temperature of the environment surrounding these organs increases. The spermatogenic epithelium, responsible for the production of sperm, is very sensitive to temperature changes and, with the development of cryptorchidism, performs its function much worse;
- Mumps – this viral disease is characterized by selective damage to the glandular tissue of the body. That is why the foci of the pathological process often become not only salivary, but also the sex glands. The defeat of spermatogenic epithelium with mumps significantly reduces the chances of a successful conception in the future.
In the case of development of obstructive infertility, the process of sperm movement along the vas deferens is disrupted. Undoubtedly, the chances of a successful conception are much higher with a unilateral lesion and are practically absent with the bilateral nature of the pathological process.
The main causes of obstructive infertility in men are the following factors:
- adhesions after epididymitis;
- tumors and cysts of the genital organs;
- cicatricial changes in the vas deferens after surgery;
- congenital strictures of the vas deferens;
- complete absence of the vas deferens.
About 10% of childless couples do not have any diseases or risk factors that can cause infertility. In this case, they talk about the immunological incompatibility of partners or autoimmune infertility. A confirmation of the diagnosis may also be the presence of children from other marriages among partners.
The final determination of the presence of immunological incompatibility of partners allows the detection of sperm antibodies in the ejaculate. These cells of the immune system are produced by damaging the hematotesticular barrier that limits testicular tissue from the environment. Antisperm antibodies densely cover the surface of sperm, making it difficult for them to move and merge with the egg.
Determining the type of male infertility allows you to prescribe an adequate treatment that can significantly increase reproductive potential.
Read more about male infertility here.