You and your partner want to have a child. So far, your attempts have not been successful. In some cases, infertility is caused by an imbalance of hormones, either in the woman, which affects ovulation, or in the man, which affects sperm count and quality. If you and your spouse are having trouble conceiving, talk to your doctor about pills for male fertility.
The way fertility pills function depends on the cause of a man’s infertility. Some men may have a low sperm count due to an infection, such as an STD, swollen veins or due to a hormonal imbalance. Certain fertility pills can help restore the balance of hormones in a man by stimulating his pituitary gland, according to BabyCenter. The pituitary gland sends a message to his testicles to make more testosterone and, most likely, more sperm.
If a man’s infertility is caused by an infection, a pill to clear up the infection, such as antibiotic, may make him fertile again, though this is not guaranteed. If your partner has a low sperm count as a result of a hormone problem, he may see some benefit from taking clomiphene, a pill commonly prescribed to women who are battling infertility. Clomiphene can help trigger hormone production in men, though it may not work for everyone and is usually more effective if used by women.
Side Effects and Other Risks
Unfortunately, fertility pills are not without their side effects. Clomiphene may lead to blurred vision and weight gain in men, according to BabyCenter. A man may notice that his breasts are larger and feel tender. Though it is rarer, damage to the liver could also occur. Men who have a history of depression or thrombophlebitis, inflammation of the veins due to blood clots, should let their doctor know before clomiphene is prescribed, according to MayoClinic.com.
If his doctor prescribes clomiphene, a man should usually take it once a day for up to six months, according to BabyCenter. Since the rate of success for even the most effective male fertility pill is low, you and your partner may wish to try another treatment if you do not get pregnant within that time period. You can also decide to continue to take a low dose of clomiphene for up to a year.
Other Things to Consider
Although they may be less expensive than other fertility treatments, fertility pills, such as clomiphene, are not cheap. According to BabyCenter, as of 2010, clomiphene can cost up to $500 each month, and since it is prescribed off-label for men, it may not be covered by your insurance. You may also wish to consider clomiphene’s effectiveness before going on it. Clomiphene generally has a 20 percent success rate when taken by men, as does another hormonal treatment, human chorionic gonadotropin, which is an injection. The odds of getting pregnant while using fertility pills are close to the odds of getting pregnant without any treatment, according to BabyCenter.