Male Infertility Service

Male Infertility Causes

Male factor infertility refers to the failure of a couple to achieve conception due to problems specifically related to the man’s sperm, seminal fluid or reproductive organs. A number of things can affect sperm count, ability to move (motility) or ability to fertilize the egg. The most common causes of male infertility include:

  • Abnormal sperm production or function
  • Problems with the delivery of sperm due to sexual problems, such as erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, ejaculatory incompetence , retrograde ejaculation; or blockage of the part of the testicle that contains sperm (epididymis) or scarring from genital infections
  • General health and lifestyle issues such as poor nutrition, obesity, stress or use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs
  • Over-exposure to certain environmental hazards and toxins, such as pesticides, lead, paint, radiation, radioactive substances, mercury, benzene, boron, and heavy metals
  • Ageing male – Men older than age 40 may be less fertile than younger men


Tests for male infertility attempt to determine whether any of these processes are impaired.

  • General physical examination – This includes examination of your genitals and questions concerning your medical history, illnesses and disabilities, medications and sexual habits.
  • Semen analysis – This is a very important test for the male partner. Your doctor may ask for one or more semen specimens. Semen is generally obtained by masturbating or by interrupting intercourse and ejaculating your semen into a clean container. A laboratory analyzes your semen specimen for quantity, colour and presence of infections or blood.
  • Hormone testing – A blood test to determine the level of testosterone and other male hormones is common.
  • Doppler evaluation of the testis and Transrectal Ultrasound – Doppler/Ultrasound can help your doctor look for evidence of conditions such as retrograde ejaculation and ejaculatory duct obstruction.


Abstaining from alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs can improve male fertility. A healthy diet, sufficient (not excessive) exercise, proper amounts of vitamin B12, vitamin C and zinc also improve fertility.


Addressing impotence or premature ejaculation can improve fertility. Treatment for these problems often is primarily with medication or behavioural approaches, though mechanical and surgical treatments are sometimes effective. Artificial insemination with an ejaculate could be deployed to overcome infertility.


Hormonal treatment is needed usually in 5% of the men. Other treatments include surgical treatment of varicocele, ejaculatory duct incisions and sperm concentration methods through electroejaculation.


Microsurgical bypass operations, micro-epididymal sperm aspiration (MESA) and bilateral testicular biopsies are the treatment procedures that are commonly deployed.