Does ED Cause Male Infertility?
Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection long enough for sex. And yes, in addition to affecting the sexual relationship for a couple, it can also affect trying to conceive a child. While some of the underlying causes of ED may also influence fertility levels, the treatment for each condition differs.
Erectile Dysfunction may seem very personal and isolating, but it is a far more common problem than you may realize. More than 30 million men in the United States experience ED. A range of effective treatments is available, from oral medication, injections, and pellets, to a permanent surgical implant.
Male infertility is defined by a couple’s inability to conceive following six months to a year of frequent, unprotected sex due to a problem with the male (the number of times changes depending on the age of the partners).
Some of the causes of ED and male infertility are the same. Some common factors include:
- Age (especially over age 50)
- Low testosterone/hormonal imbalance
- Some medications
- Prostate surgery
Diagnosing male infertility is usually as simple as counting and testing the health of the sperm in the patient’s semen or ejaculate. A low sperm count is fewer than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen. Sperm health also takes into consideration the general shape of the sperm and their speed (motility). A fertility doctor may also order a test on a man’s urine following ejaculation to see if there are a significant number of sperm being injected into the bladder when he ejaculates. This is a major cause of infertility.
Infertility treatment is complex, and a couple may succeed without knowing why conception was delayed. Sometimes oral fertility medication that induces ovulation will result in pregnancy, even if the male partner is the cause. Intra-uterine insemination is also very effective. In this procedure, sperm is isolated and concentrated in a syringe (so that count and quality are optimized, along with glucose and other materials that increase motility). Ovulation is induced by oral medication and injection and confirmed via ultrasound. The sperm is injected through the vagina into the uterus, giving it a head start to the fertile egg. Again, no matter the underlying cause of infertility, this method often results in a healthy pregnancy.
Ejaculation is necessary for conception, regardless of how it is eventually accomplished. If you have ED and cannot regularly have sexual intercourse, there is help. Men in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area trust Dr. Richard Natale of Carolina Urology Partners for expert diagnosis and treatment of men’s health issues, including ED. Call (704) 786-5131 for an appointment today in our two convenient locations in Concord or Charlotte, North Carolina.