Male infertility

Men can also be responsible for infertility problems.
Male sterility accounts for 20% of fertility problems..

Sperm abnormalities

Male infertility can be caused by a production of poor quality sperm, an insufficient sperm production or sperm that are not mobile enough:
  • Oligospermia: sperm concentration below the threshold level of 20 million
  • Azoospermia: sperm concentration well below normal
  • Asthenospermia: the number of normal mobile sperm is below 50%
  • Teratospermia: there is more than 50% of abnormal sperm which could be due to infections
  • Aspermia: complete absence of sperm

Other causes of male infertility

There are many factors which can have a negative impact upon sperm, some of which are highlighted below:
  • Testicle trauma or surgery
  • Previous history of viral infections, especially mumps virus
  • Sexually transmitted infections or testicular infections (orchitis)
  • Excess alcohol and tobacco consumption
  • Excess heat exposure
  • Chemotherapy
  • Irradiation and certain drugs
  • Retrograde ejaculation: sperm that is ejaculated inside and not out through the penis
  • Varicocele (varicose veins of the testicle)
  • Severe liver and kidney diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Erectile dysfunction (problems with erections)
  • Sperm antibodies: men can develop antibodies which destroy their own sperm
  • Abnormal anatomy - for example, obstruction of any of the tubes through which sperm travel (epididymis or vas deferens)
  • Klinefelter's syndrome - a genetic condition which gives rise to small testicles, azoospermia and gynaecomastia (enlargement of breast tissue).
  • Undescended testes or cryptorchidism: absence of one or both testicles due to not descending into the scrotum during development as a foetus

Of note, no cause for infertility is found in either men or women in up to 25% of cases.