The Main Causes of Infertility in Men

There are many causes of infertility in men. Some causes can be congenital, which is present at birth. Other causes of infertility are acquired, which means the male develops infertility later in life caused by other problems. Here are some of the reasons for infertility in men.

Low Sperm Count and Poor Sperm Quality

One of the most common causes of infertility is low sperm count and poor sperm quality. These problems can be caused by a number of factors such as age, medications, diet, alcohol, smoking, sexually transmitted disease and other factors. To determine if you are suffering from low sperm count or poor sperm quality, talk to your doctor; he will be able to perform a sperm analysis.


A varicocele is an enlargement of the vein located inside the scrotum. The enlargement of the vein can cause infertility by decreasing the oxygen to the sperm. Varicoceles will often decease with no treatment. If treatment is needed, there are ways to treat them without surgery, although the most severe cases may need surgical treatment.

Radiation Exposure

Overexposure to radiation such as x-rays, MRI or chemotherapy radiation can cause damage to the sperm. It can take months for the sperm to regain their quality, and in severe cases, they may never regain their quality. It is best to make sure that the exposure to radiation is a necessary form of treatment if trying to conceive.

Retrograde Ejaculation

Retrograde ejaculation is a major cause of infertility. With this, when a male ejaculates, the sperm go into the bladder instead of coming out of the penis. This can be caused by certain health conditions such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis or surgery performed on the bladder or prostate. Retrograde ejaculation can also be caused by certain types of medications.


Infections can cause difficulty in sperm production or the quality of the sperm. Most infections that cause problems are sexually transmitted diseases or prostatitis, which is inflammation of the prostate. It is best to take the proper precautions to prevent getting a sexually transmitted disease, and if you think you may have one, talk to your doctor before it gets worse.

Hormonal Imbalances

Hormonal imbalances such as too much or not enough testosterone can cause infertility problems. This can be caused by the pituitary gland or the testis not working properly. This can usually be treated with the use of medication.


Too much stress can cause a decrease in sperm production. Stress can be caused by any number of factors such as a job, money, the economy or relationship problems. Learning to deal with stress can be very helpful in keeping your fertility.

Weight and Age

The age and weight of the male can cause infertility problems. If the male is overweight, it causes hormone changes which can decrease sperm count. Once a man reaches age 35, his sperm production begins to decline.

If you and your partner are having problems conceiving a child, talk to your doctor. A semen analysis can be performed to determine the problem, and he can help you obtain treatment.

Updated August 2014

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