Male Infertility

What is Male Infertility?

When a male is unable to impregnate an otherwise fertile female, he is considered infertile. About 30-50% of all infertility issues are due to male infertility. Duct blockages, deformed or weak sperm, hormonal imbalances, damage to the testicles, secondary diseases, and lifestyle choices such as smoking, recreational drugs, alcohol abuse, sedentary life or overly intense exercise, poor diet, stress can all lead to temporary or permanent infertility in men.

What are the Symptoms of Male Infertility?

For most men, the main symptom of infertility is difficulty impregnating their female partner. Other symptoms are generally only caused by an underlying cause, such as a disease or damage to the testicles.

Secondary symptoms may include

  • Pain, tenderness, and swelling in the testicles
  • Trouble getting or maintaining an erection
  • Semen appearing in the urine due to retrograde ejaculation
  • Lack of body hair due to reduced testosterone levels
  • Little to no ejaculation during orgasm
  • Breast growth

Reduced sexual desire can be a symptom of male infertility, but it is also often caused by receiving the diagnosis due to the psychological effects of having trouble conceiving. Male infertility is diagnosed through testing of the semen and sperm, imaging to examine the internal structures, and biopsies if cancer is suspected.

How is Male Infertility Treated?

Surgeries are available to correct blocked or malformed ducts. Men who don’t produce enough sperm can take fertility medication to boost production, but it is harder to encourage weak sperm that have a low motility.

Men that don’t respond well to surgery or medication often turn to fertilization options for their female partners that inject the sperm into the uterus or directly into the egg. Many men only need to change a few habits, like switching to looser underwear and spending less time in the hot tub, to boost their fertility levels.

Last Reviewed:
October 07, 2016
Last Updated:
August 09, 2017
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