Causes of Male Infertility

If a couple is having difficulty getting pregnant, doctors will usually eliminate any male fertility problems. Sometimes male fertility problems can be easier and less expensive to treat than female fertility problems which are often why some doctors will test the man first. Most male fertility problems are caused by sperm quality or sperm count.

Causes of Sperm Quality Problems

Sperm quality problems can be caused by blocked seminal ducts, seminal fluid disorders, testicular disorders or blockage or chromosomal disorders.

Sperm quality and count can temporarily be affected by alcohol, prescription medication, recreational drugs including marijuana, environmental toxins like lead and pesticides. Sperm counts can also be diminished by heat so a hot bath before sex, exercise before sex and chronic high fever can reduce the numbers and quality. While exercise and a bath can reduce sperm, these activities are not forms of reliable birth control and shouldn't be used this way.

The inability to ejaculate, retrograde ejaculation and certain hormonal disorders can also affect the quality and amount of sperm.

Hormonal Disorders

Hormonal disorders include a pituitary disorder or feminization. Feminization symptoms are loss of facial hair, loss of body hair or enlargement of male breasts. There is a variety of causing varying from alcoholism to a testicular tumor. A pituitary disorder affects the gland at the base of the brain that produces hormones that control other hormone producing glands which can affect the hormone production necessary to create enough healthy sperm.

Testicular Disorders and Blockage

Medical treatment is necessary to fix testicular disorders. They include varicose testicular veins, (varicocele), undescended testicles even if they were treated in infancy, radiation exposure, bruising or damaging the testicles, or non-traditionally shaped testes.

Testicular blockage is often caused by various sexually transmitted diseases which have scarred the testicle ducts. Blockage can also sometimes be caused by a tract abnormality the man was born with but didn't realize he had. Sometimes a blockage can be removed. Other times the scarring is so bad there's no chance of repair.

Chromosomal Disorders

There are approximately 50 chromosomal disorders that can affect male fertility. Some are tuberculosis, spinal muscle atrophy (death of the spinal motor neurons), Cushing Syndrome (affects development of the adrenal gland) and orchitis (testicular inflammation).

Ejaculation Problems

Diabetes, prostrate surgery, urethra surgery and blood pressure medications can all cause impotence or an inability to ejaculate which means there is no sperm ejected. Sometimes sperm is ejected but it doesn't exit as it should and instead the sperm is released into the bladder. Certain medications can cause this as can prostate surgery.


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