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What Causes Male Infertility

  • Category: Male Fertility
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Atlanta Center for Reproductive Medicine
What Causes Male Infertility

Infertility is stressful, frustrating, and often traumatic for both partners who find themselves unable to conceive after 12 months of trying. While the spotlight is often on infertile women, male factor infertility plays a role in at least a third of these cases.

It’s important to remember that you have options if you are facing infertility, and you’re not alone.

Causes for Male Factor Infertility

Fertility can be best understood when you’re educated on the conception process. For your partner to get pregnant, you must not only produce healthy sperm but produce enough healthy sperm that can be transported into the semen. From there, sperm must be able to successfully reach your partner’s egg. A problem in even one of these steps can cause infertility.

Male factor infertility can be caused by a number of different health issues, however, the most common are:

  • Varicocele — A varicocele is the swelling of the veins that drain the testicle, resulting in reduced quality of the sperm. Fortunately, this is the most common reversible cause of infertility. By treating the varicocele, you may improve sperm function, which then may result in improved chances of conception.
  • Retrograde Ejaculation — Certain health conditions can cause retrograde ejaculation — when semen enters the bladder instead of exiting through the tip of the penis during orgasm. Often times sperm can still be retrieved and used in assisted reproductive techniques.
  • Lifestyle Choices — Lifestyle and daily habits can also play a role in your fertility. Those who are overweight, depressed, anxious, and/or smokers are more likely to experience infertility issues. Drug use can also lower your ability to reproduce, as steroids and alcohol have been known to reduce the number and quality of the sperm.
  • Environmental Causes — Frequent exposure to industrial chemicals, heavy metals, and radiation can reduce a person's sperm count or function, either temporarily or long-term. Overheating (such as sitting with a laptop for a long period of time or frequently enjoying hot tubs or long hot baths) is another potential cause of reduced sperm count.
  • Medication Use — Decreased sperm count is a common side effect of many medications on the market. Chemotherapy, antifungal medications, and certain ulcer drugs can all affect the production of sperm. While sperm count often returns to normal levels after you’ve finished taking the medication, more aggressive treatments can do long-term damage.

Discuss Infertility With a Fertility Specialist in Atlanta

At ACRM, we work with several Board-certified urologists specializing in male fertility throughout the Atlanta area. As experts in infertility, we’re here to ensure you receive the best treatment and care. We offer several treatments so that you and your partner can explore all the options. Contact one of our Patient Care Coordinators today.