Possible Causes of Male Infertility

Posted on December 27, 2023 by root

Male infertility can be attributed to various factors that affect the production, quality, or delivery of sperm. This can include a variety of injuries, health conditions, lifestyle and genetic factors. Understanding the potential causes is crucial for addressing fertility issues in men. The following are some possible causes of male infertility, many of which can be effectively treated by Justin Houman, MD.

Sperm Disorders

A low sperm count (Oligospermia) is a common cause of male infertility. It reduces the likelihood of sperm reaching and fertilizing an egg. Low sperm count can be caused by hormonal imbalances, structural issues, genetics, environmental issues and health issues. Other sperm disorders that contribute to male infertility include poor sperm mobility and abnormally shaped sperm (Teratospermia).

Hormonal Imbalances

Low levels of testosterone (low T) can impact sperm production. Hormonal imbalances involving the pituitary gland, hypothalamus, or testicles may contribute to infertility. Testing testosterone levels is one of the first considerations when diagnosing the causes of male infertility.

Genetic Factors

Certain genetic conditions, such as Klinefelter syndrome or Y chromosome microdeletions, can affect sperm production and fertility.

Testicular Issues

Undescended testicles, a condition where one or both testicles fail to descend into the scrotum, can impact sperm production. Other testicular issues that can impact sperm production include trauma to the testicles, whether from injury, surgery, or radiation, and varicocele. Varicocele is the enlargement of veins within the scrotum. It can lead to increased testicular temperature, impacting sperm production and quality.


Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause scarring in the reproductive system, affecting sperm transport. Also, infections in the urinary tract can sometimes lead to infertility if they affect the reproductive organs.

Ejaculatory Disorders

Erectile dysfunction (ED), the difficulty of achieving or maintaining an erection, can hinder sexual intercourse and sperm delivery. Premature ejaculation, ejaculating before or shortly after penetration, may also reduce the chances of sperm reaching the egg.

Environmental and Lifestyle Factors

Lifestyle and environmental factors often contribute to male fertility. Many of these are controllable and making lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of infertility. These factors include:

  • Smoking: Tobacco smoke contains toxins that can damage sperm and reduce fertility.
  • Alcohol and Drug Use: Excessive alcohol consumption and drug use can negatively impact sperm production and quality.
  • Obesity: Obesity is associated with hormonal imbalances and can contribute to fertility issues.
  • Occupational Exposures: Exposure to certain toxins, chemicals, or radiation in the workplace may affect fertility.

Losing weight and limiting exposure to toxins and harmful substances can be beneficial for men experiencing infertility.

Chronic Health Conditions and Medications

Poorly managed diabetes can contribute to fertility problems in men. Other chronic health conditions that can impact fertility include high blood pressure (hypertension) and certain thyroid disorders.
Hypertension: High blood pressure can affect sperm production and erectile function. Some medications, including certain antihypertensives, anabolic steroids, and chemotherapy drugs, can also affect sperm production.

It is important to note that male infertility is often a combination of multiple factors, and a comprehensive evaluation by a urologist or fertility specialist, is necessary to identify the specific causes. Treatment options may include lifestyle modifications, medications, hormone replacement therapy, surgery, or a combination of these treatments. If you and your partner are having difficulty conceiving, call the office of Justin Houman, MD, to schedule a male fertility evaluation. We offer advanced diagnosis and treatment options for male infertility at our clinic in Los Angeles, CA.

Posted on behalf of Justin Houman MD

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