Lots of us assume that starting a family is a straightforward process, but for many couples, this isn’t the case.
If you and your partner are struggling to conceive, then it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Infertility, or not being able to conceive after one year of regular unprotected sex, is really common; in fact, it affects one in five couples.
Not only is infertility common, but nearly 30% of infertility cases in heterosexual couples are related to male factor infertility issues alone, while 30% to 40% of infertility cases are due to a combination of female and male factors. So why is male infertility rarely talked about?
“Traditionally, fertility treatment and evaluation have been very focused on women in the past,” says Dr. Tolulope Bakare, urologist and assistant professor, Texas, US. And we can see that from the stats: Just 41% of obstetricians and gynecologists would consider a urological evaluation of the male partner if a couple was struggling to conceive, according to RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association.
That means lots of couples are potentially missing out on getting the answers they need along with the fertility treatment they deserve. Dr. Bakare says, “It’s really essential that men are now starting to be recognized as a vital part of the evaluation and workup of infertility in couples.”
Below, Dr. Bakare answers the most common questions about male factor infertility, including what it is, the causes, and the support your health care provider may offer to you if you’re trying to conceive.