Common causes of male infertility


Nature makes conception seem deceptively simple, but it’s a complex process in which every little thing must perform optimally and on schedule. For about 10% of couples, something somewhere goes awry. While a lot of attention goes to female reproductive challenges, males experience infertility in equal amounts although for very different reasons.

Sperm viability

Male infertility can often be traced to the integrity of the sperm: sperm count, sperm motility and sperm DNA. Abnormal sperm production or sperm function can come from a number of physiological conditions including undescended testicles, genetic defects or chronic infections.

Physiological constraints

Of course, if sperm don’t make it to the destination, that is a problem. Premature ejaculation and painful intercourse can be significant problems in that regard. Health issues like retrograde ejaculation will also present challenges. Genetic diseases like cystic fibrosis will affect fertility. Also, if there is any blockage in the epididymis, the canal leading sperm away from the testicles, then that will prevent fertilization.

Lifestyle choices

Lifestyle issues like smoking, poor nutrition, obesity and use of alcohol or recreational drugs will also inhibit healthy sperm production. While men may produce sperm throughout their lifetime, the numbers do drop after age 40 for some men more than others.

Environmental issues

More and more scientists are discovering that environmental issues like pesticides and other chemicals are impacting male infertility as well as female infertility. Continual or repeated exposure to heat will also affect sperm production since the testicles are highly sensitive to temperature.

Medical treatment

Some disease treatments are clearly dangerous for maintaining fertility, especially for young men. Cancer treatments in particular threaten male fertility. Radiation treatment can be disastrous for sperm production and efforts should be made to preserve fertility prior to those treatments taking place.

Source: Mayo Clinic


The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. See our Legal Statement for more details.

Fertility Clinics Directory

Find a Fertility Clinic

If you or a loved one is suffering from infertility and needs help conceiving then we are here to offer help in any way we can. We have over 450 Fertility Clinics listed on our Directory. Click here to search for a Fertility Clinic that is right for you.