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3 Potential Signs of Male Infertility & When to Talk to a Specialist
Talking to a fertility specialist when you are having difficulty conceiving can seem like a big step. Many couples are surprised when they are not able to conceive and often assume the reason is a female fertility issue (a common misconception). Reasons for infertility are split about equally, 1/3 female factor, 1/3 male factor and 1/3 unexplained. Most men don’t know to keep an eye on their fertility in the same way women do – so when it turns out the fertility issue is male factor infertility, this can come as particularly surprising.
Men usually only anticipate having a fertility issue under a few specific circumstances – such as when they’ve experienced a groin injury in their lifetime, or they underwent cancer treatment that included chemotherapy and/or radiation. Each of these situations has been known to cause infertility, but if you haven’t undergone cancer treatment or had an injury, then infertility likely “just won’t make any sense.”
This is a normal reaction. Men are underrepresented in the fertility community only by perception, not in reality. Even though infertility can come as an unexpected surprise, there are symptoms that can indicate an issue. These symptoms range in subtlety, and it may not be your first guess that a particular symptom is affecting fertility.
Here are 3 potential signs of male infertility:
- Poor sexual function
- Are you able to ejaculate normally?
- How is your libido? Is it lower than normal?
- Can you maintain an erection?
- Changes in your testicles
- Are you experiencing pain or swelling in your testicles?
- Do you have a lump or lumps in your testicles?
- Are your testicles smaller than normal? Or firmer?
- Hair loss
- Loss of body or facial hair is often indicative of an abnormality.
When to talk to a specialist
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, it is best to seek the advice and care of a specialist to determine if your symptoms are related to an underlying health condition, as well as treat for infertility. If you are not experiencing any of the above symptoms yet you are still unable to conceive, most fertility specialists advise waiting a year before seeking assistance if the female partner is under the age of 35; if she is 35 or older, you should contact a male fertility specialist after 6 months of being unable to conceive.