Infertility exists when you and your life partner are unable to conceive a
child even after twelve months of continuous
ual intercourse without birth control methods.
Infertility can be because of a single cause in either your body parts or your partner's, or a
combination of factors that may prevent a pregnancy from occurring or
Infertility is different from sterility. Being sterile means you
will never ever
conceive a child. With sterility, you or your partner has a physical problem
that precludes the ability to conceive. A diagnosis of infertility simply
means that becoming pregnant may be a challenge rather than an
Causes of male infertility
There are a number of causes for male infertility which can result in
impaired count or mobility, or impaired ability to fertilize the egg.
The most common causes of male infertility include abnormal production
or function, impaired delivery of , conditions related to a man's
general health and lifestyle, and overexposure to extreme environment:
Abnormal production or function. Most cases of
male infertility are due to abnormalities, such as:
- Impaired shape and movement of .
must be properly shaped and able to move rapidly and accurately
toward the egg for fertilization to occur. If the shape and structure
(morphology) of the are abnormal or the movement (motility) is
impaired, may not be able to reach the egg.
- Absent production in testicles.
Complete failure of the testicles to produce is rare, affecting very
few infertile men.
- Low concentration. A normal
concentration is greater than or equal to 20 million per
milliliter of semen. A count of 10 million or fewer per milliliter
of semen indicates low concentration (subfertility). A count of 40
million or higher per milliliter of semen indicates increased
- Varicocele. A varicocele is a
varicose vein in the scrotum that may prevent normal cooling of the
testicle and raise testicular temperature, preventing from
- Undescended testicle (cryptorchidism).
This occurs when one or both testicles fail to descend from the abdomen
into the scrotum during fetal development. Undescended testicles can cause
mild to severely impaired production. Because the testicles are
exposed to the higher internal body temperature compared to the
temperature in the scrotum, production may be affected.
- Testosterone deficiency (male hypogonadism).
Infertility can result from disorders of the testicles themselves, or an
abnormality affecting the hypothalamus or pituitary glands in the brain
that produce the hormones that control the testicles.
- Klinefelter's syndrome. In this
disorder of the chromosomes, a man has two X chromosomes and one Y
chromosome instead of one X and one Y. This causes abnormal development of
the testicles, resulting in low or absent production. Testosterone
production also may be lower.
- Infections. Infection may
temporarily affect motility. Repeated bouts of ually transmitted
diseases (STDs), such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, are most often
associated with male infertility. These infections can cause scarring and
block passage. Mycoplasma is an organism that may fasten itself to
cells, making them less motile. If mumps, a viral infection usually
affecting young children, occurs after puberty, inflammation of the
testicles can impair production. Inflammation of the prostate (prostatitis),
urethra or epididymis also may alter motility.