Dr, I am a 36-year-old man. While in school I got a son who is now 16-years-old. A DNA test confirmed he is 99.9 per cent mine. However, I have never been able to have any other child. I have been married for three years now and I still have no child. Do I have a problem? Darlington
When a couple has regular unprotected sex (say three times a week) and they take a year or more without getting pregnant, they may be deemed infertile.
The cause of infertility may originate from the woman or man or a combination of both.
In some cases, the cause may never be found. Women are the ones who get pregnant and when they fail to do so, the blame is usually heaped on them but sometimes wrongly since a man, even when he is not impotent, may fail to impregnate a woman.
Today many couples are infertile because of low sperm count which by sheer luck or if a woman is very fertile, a couple then may get one or two children but as a woman grows older infertility may set in.
A man may not have had low sperm count but when he indulges in habits such as cigarette smoking, substance abuse, gets exposed to pesticides, takes body building anabolic steroids, gets frequent exposure to heat, such as in saunas or hot tubs, long distance truck driving and radiation, sperm count may become low.
Also, emotional stress and obesity may lead to reduced sperm count which may cause infertility in a man who was previously fertile.
Men may be fertile but later get diseased (especially with STDs) and have their sperm carrying tubes blocked, ending up ejaculating fluids devoid of sperms.
Many couples out of work schedules or other reasons may not be available for enough sex. A number of these are using the “unsafe periods “in the hope of getting an elusive pregnancy yet regular sex (atleast three times a week is most important for pregnancy to occur).
Please visit your doctor for fertility tests. It will be useful to go with your spouse to have tests as well. Meanwhile, embarking on physical exercise, eating a balanced diet low in fats, avoiding smoking, over drinking, drug abuse apart from avoiding overheating of the testicles may help boost sperm count and fertility.