What causes Male Infertility?


Male infertility is usually caused by problems that affect either sperm production or sperm transport. Through medical testing, Dr. Samplaski may be able to find the cause of the problem.

Many infertile men have a problem with making sperm in the testes. Potential causes include either low numbers of sperm are made and/or the sperm that are made do not work properly. These sperm may either not swim properly, or may have altered genetic material that makes it more difficult for them to fertilize the female egg.

Sperm transport problems are another common cause of male infertility. These are most commonly seen in men who have had a vasectomy, but now wish to have more children. Blockages (often referred to as obstructions) in the tubes leading sperm away from the testes to the penis, can cause a complete lack of sperm in the ejaculated semen.

Other causes of infertility include: sexual problems that affect whether semen is able to enter the woman’s vagina for fertilization to take place; hormone abnormalities from the pituitary gland that act on the testes; and sperm antibodies. In most men, sperm antibodies will not affect the chance of a pregnancy but in some men sperm antibodies reduce fertility.

Known causes of Male Infertility

Sperm production problems:

  • Chromosomal or genetic causes
  • Undescended testes (failure of the testes to descend at birth)
  • Infections
  • Torsion (twisting of the testis in scrotum)
  • Varicocele (varicose veins of the testes)
  • Medicines and chemicals
  • Radiation damage
  • Unknown causes

Blockage of sperm transport:

  • Infections
  • Prostate-related problems
  • Absence of vas deferens
  • Vasectomy
  • Injury or infection in the epididymis
  • Sexual problems (erection and ejaculation problems)
  • Retrograde and premature ejaculation
  • Failure of ejaculation
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Infrequent intercourse
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Prostate surgery
  • Damage to nerves
  • Some medicines

Hormonal problems:

  • Pituitary tumors
  • Congenital lack of LH/FSH (pituitary problem from birth)
  • Anabolic (androgenic) steroid abuse
  • Unknown causes