What Can Cause Infertility In Males?

Infertility can be referred to as a reproductive condition where one is unable to achieve the goal of conception. It is a common problem that faces many couples who are within the reproductive bracket. There are numerous possible causes of infertility ranging from congenital disorders to acquired infertility. Acquired infertility can either be as a result of medical reasons, exposure to harmful environmental factors or bad lifestyle choices. Without further ado, here are some common factors which can lead to infertility in males.

What Can Cause Infertility In Males?

What Can Cause Infertility In Males?

Sperm Disorders

Sperm disorders cause male infertility. For fertilization to occur; the sperms must be present and they must be viable in terms of being adequate in quantity, healthy and well-matured. Sperm disorders which are related to male infertility are low sperm count (oligospermia), nil sperm count (azoospermia), poor motility and abnormally shaped sperms. Azoospermia represents a situation where there are no sperms whatsoever in the male ejaculate while oligospermia is a situation where there are not enough sperms being ejaculated, thus decreasing the probability of fertilization. Poor motility and abnormally shaped sperms tend to decrease the sperms ability to swim as fast as they should or be unable to penetrate the surface of the ova for fertilization.

Ejaculation Disorders

Ejaculation disorders cause male infertility. In other cases of male infertility, the man may naturally produce healthy and adequate sperms; however, they are unable to properly release the sperms. This could be as a result of an ejaculation disorder such as erectile dysfunction, delayed ejaculation, retrograde ejaculation or anorgasmia. Erectile dysfunction is the inability to sustain an erection during sexual intercourse. Delayed ejaculation is where sperms are not released after one has had orgasm while retrograde ejaculation is a situation where the sperms are released backward into the bladder instead of outside your body. Finally, anorgasmia is the inability of a man to reach orgasm and ejaculate as required after sexual satisfaction.

Testicular Damage

Testicular Damage causes male infertility. The testicles are where the sperm-generating cells are located and where spermatogenesis occurs. Therefore, any damage to the testicles could lead to problems with sperm production. Testicular damage can cause poor quality sperms or insufficient sperms which in turn would cause male infertility. Ways in which the testicles can be damaged include overheating the testicles during long hot baths or saunas, trauma during surgery within the testicular region, sitting for too long, injury to the testicles during sports or in an accident, undescended testicles, and wearing tight underwear.

Medical Disorders

Medical disorders cause male infertility. Common medical disorders which can inflict male infertility include chromosomal defects such as Klinefelter’s syndrome and Kallman’s syndrome, the absence of vas deferens, infections within the testicular region, varicocele, and any prior surgeries of the testicular region. Varicocele is the swelling of the veins which drain the testicles and is a treatable condition. Other than STIs, other infections which can cause infertility are those associated with the epididymitis and testicles such orchitis mumps. Celiac disease associated with sensitivity to gluten foods can also cause infertility. Klinefelter’s syndrome is a condition where the man has a Y-chromosome in addition to the normal XY-chromosomes while Kallman’s syndrome.

Bad Lifestyle Choices

Bad lifestyle choices which can lead to male infertility include smoking, drinking too much alcohol, abuse of illicit drugs as well as medication such as anabolic steroids which affect testicular functionality, and eating unhealthy foods thus causing one to be overweight or obese. People who also engage in unsafe sex can experience infertility in that they can acquire sexually transmitted infections which can lead to obstruction in the sperm passage, thus sperms are not delivered as required.

Hormonal Imbalance

Male hormones are essential in many aspects from sperm production to stimulating sexual desires and even during ejaculation. The pituitary glands and hypothalamus in the brain are responsible for regulating hormones, thus if they are unable to function properly, a man could suffer from male infertility. One major hormone problem is hypogonadism, which is a condition characterized by insufficient production of the hormone testosterone. Low testosterone levels can lead to erectile dysfunction, low sex drive and low sperm count, which decrease your chances at conception.

Cancer And Treatment

Cancer within the testicular region can lead to obstruction meaning sperms are not released properly or at all during ejaculation. Cancers which can cause male infertility include testicular cancer and prostate cancer. Treatment for cancer, which includes chemotherapy treatment and radiation therapy, can cause infertility in that they can harm healthy cells within the body which are linked to the male reproduction.

Exposure To Harmful Environmental Factors

This often affects men working in areas where they are constantly exposed to toxic substances such as pesticides, herbicides, lead, asbestos material, benzenes, organic solvents, and painting materials which can lead to low sperm count and male infertility.


In cases of lifestyle choices, a man can prevent himself from male infertility by changing their habits. Other than that, most acquired medical disorders which lead to infertility can be treated, thus improving the chances of fertilizing an egg. In most of the above causes of infertility, the reason behind their implication is not well understood. So, it is important that if you suspect you are infertile, you should visit a doctor for confirmation and further testing.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 1, 2019

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