Male Infertility: The Most Common Causes


Although many couples get pregnant quickly and easily, this isn't the case for everyone. About 1 in 6 couples have trouble conceiving and 30-40% of all fertility issues are due to a male factor.
Unfortunately, the reason for male infertility is sometimes difficult to establish. It is often related to problems with sperm quality, quantity or ejaculation issues. However, for 40-50% of the men diagnosed with fertility issues, the cause remains unknown.
Whether you’re trying to conceive or considering donating your sperm, find out the most common infertility causes in men.

The most common causes of male infertility


Problems with semen

Male infertility is often the result of problems with the quality of sperm, such as azoospermia or oligospermia. A good sperm count, as well as the sperms' ability to swim, are both necessary so that sperm can successfully reach the eggs and fertilise them.
Some men experience azoospermia. This means their body doesn’t produce any sperm at all or that sperm is produced but cannot be ejaculated because of a blockage or an injury. This condition affects about 5% of infertile men.
Another issue is oligospermia, also called low sperm count. Oligospermia is diagnosed when the concentration of sperm is too low to fertilise an egg.
Sometimes men have a good quantity of sperm but experience issues with sperm morphology or motility.
Poor sperm quantity or motility can be provoked by several factors, for instance, use of drugs, hormone imbalance, injuries or certain conditions.

Ejaculatory issues

Some men have a blockage in their ejaculatory ducts, which prevent sperm from being ejaculated, even though semen is being produced by the testes. Ejaculatory duct obstruction (EDO) can be due to an injury, an infection or certain conditions.
Premature ejaculation, in which a man ejaculates before vaginal penetration, may also prevent eggs from being fertilised. Premature ejaculation can be caused by prostate health issues, mental health problems and certain medications.
In some cases, men have a retrograde ejaculation. This occurs when sperm goes into the bladder instead of coming out of the penis.
Other men may experience erectile dysfunction (impotence). A man with this condition is unable to have or maintain an erection during sexual intercourse. As a result, conceiving naturally becomes very difficult or even impossible. In most cases, erectile dysfunction is due to health issues but this can also be caused by psychological issues.

Varicocele

About 15% of adult men develop varicoceles, which are enlarged veins in the scrotum. These varicose veins can affect male fertility, and impact sperm production, quality and motility. Other issues caused by varicoceles include a rise in temperature or shrinkage of the testes.

Vasectomy

After a vasectomy, men sometimes develop antibodies that affect their reproductive system. These can, in some cases, reduce sperm motility or even destroy semen.

Certain medications

If you are trying to conceive but have trouble getting pregnant, you should perhaps take a look at the medications you’re using. Certain drugs can impact your reproductive system, including those used to treat conditions such as cancer, high blood pressure, arthritis, depression, infection, amongst others.

Lifestyle

Your lifestyle may affect your fertility as well. Stress, smoking tobacco, consuming alcohol (more than two drinks a day), as well as using drugs such as marijuana or other illegal drugs, are all known causes of reduced fertility. Pay attention to what you eat too. Poor nutrition (for instance a diet high in refined carbs) can lead to fertility issues. Being overweight, underweight or obese can also affect your reproductive system. Additionally, wearing tight pants can increase temperature, which in turn, can damage sperm quality.

Other causes

Other causes of male infertility include hormone imbalances, autoimmune problems, sexually transmitted diseases and other infections.

What to Do If You or Your Partner Are Experiencing Trouble Conceiving

Couples are diagnosed infertile after having had regular and unprotected sex for over a year without any success (six months if they are over 35). If the couple has trouble conceiving, both partners should seek help and undergo fertility tests, such as a semen analysis or blood tests. These exams will help to highlight the origin of the infertility and, ultimately, make it easier to find the best solution.
The type of treatment proposed by your doctor will depend on the source of the fertility issues.
Minor surgery can be suggested in case of previous vasectomy, varicoceles or blockage in the ejaculatory duct. You might also be recommended fertility treatments to help you to get pregnant such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), artificial insemination (IUI) with use of fertility drugs, or sperm retrieval.

Guides

Sperm donor & Co-Parenting Laws:

United Kingdom
Ireland

Baby

What to Expect When You Become a Solo Mum
Do You Want A Baby?
How to Date When You Want Kids

Sperm donor

Free Sperm Donor Overview
Looking for a Sperm Donor
Donating Sperm in UK
Becoming a Sperm Donor
Understanding Free Sperm Donation
How much does a sperm donor cost in the UK?
How and where to find sperm donors in the UK

Insemination

Artificial Insemination Sperm Donor Guide
Home & Artificial Insemination
How Do Children Feel About Being Donor-Conceived?
Artificial insemination vs. in vitro fertilisation
How do I get cheap IVF treatment outside the UK?

Pregnancy

Getting pregnant with donor sperm
Can Alternative Medicine Boost Fertility?
Prenatal Ultrasound: What to Expect
How to calculate your baby due date
Options for Lesbians Wanting to Get Pregnant

LGBTQ

Options For Same Sex Parenting
Can Gay People Have Kids?
LGBTQ Parenthood: Conceiving in a Same-Sex Couple

Co-Parenting

Co-parenting Guide
How to date as a single parent
A Guide to Effective Co-Parenting Communication

Surrogacy

Surrogacy
Surrogacy & Surrogate Mothers

Sperm Bank

Sperm Banks in UK
Prices of Sperm Banks in London

IVF

Boosting IVF Success - The Facts and the Falsehoods
IVF and Egg Donation
IVF and Multiple Pregnancies
Fertility Preservation: Where to Freeze Your Eggs in the UK?
How to Finance Your Fertility Treatment
Male Infertility: The Most Common Causes
What Are Some Signs that a Man is Infertile?
How could I become an egg donor?
How Much Does Treatment at a Fertility Clinic Cost in UK?
What is IVF treatment and how does it work?

Report

Relationships between donors and parents to be

Glossary

Glossary Of Terms

Forums

Stories

Thank you so much to this site!

I’m now five weeks pregnant and excited to start the next chapter ...

Thank you so much!

we found a super nice donor we are working with. If it ...

Thank you

I found a donner are we are happily 8 weeks pregnant. Pauline

...
Thank you so much.

You guys are awesome and I will be recommending you to my ...


Our success stories

Are you looking for a Sperm Donor or Co-Parenting?

REGISTER NOW