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Male Infertility

Home » Specialties » Urology » Male Infertility

Being unable to produce children can be stressful for both parties involved. The male partner is involved in 50% of infertility cases; 20-30% are caused by only the male partner.

However, with the help of a doctor, infertility may not be a permanent condition. There are two major types of infertility, the causes of and solutions for which differ:

  • Primary infertility refers to a couple who, in a year of having unprotected sex, have been unable to become pregnant.
  • Secondary infertility describes a couple that has become pregnant at least once, but has not been able to since.

Causes & Risk Factors

In the majority of infertile men, the issue may be caused by low sperm counts, poor sperm quality, or both. Other, more rare cases may result from anatomical issues, hormonal imbalances and genetic defects.

Those most at risk for infertility are men with:

  • A varicocele (an enlarged varicose vein that connects to the testicles),
  • a sexually transmitted disease,
  • substance abuse issues, or,
  • long-term exposure to particular chemicals or toxins.
  • Aging is also a risk factor in becoming infertile.


Most cases of infertility can be diagnosed simply. In addition to a thorough medical history evaluation and physical exam, doctors may also perform an analysis of the semen to evaluate sperm quality and count or blood tests to monitor testosterone levels.

For more rare causes of infertility, imaging tests may be used to identify any structural issues or genetic testing to evaluate possible DNA-related causes.


Based on the cause of the patient’s infertility, doctors may suggest different treatment options. For example, varicoceles may be corrected surgically; hormone treatments may be offered to increase your naturally produced testosterone.

A common option for couples experiencing severe infertility on the man’s part is the combination of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) in conjunction with in vitro fertilization (IVF). During this procedure, a single sperm is introduced to the egg cell in a laboratory environment. Then, the fertilized egg is implanted into the woman’s womb to complete gestation.