Male factor infertility affects almost half of all couples having trouble conceiving and is the second biggest issue after a woman’s age.
Causes of male infertility
Male infertility is caused by problems that affect sperm production or the transport process such as:
- Azoospermia – no sperm produced and/or found in the ejaculate.
- Oligoozspermia – low sperm count
- Malformed sperm – in rare cases, genetic diseases may be at fault.
- Immunological infertility – when you develop antibodies against your own sperm.
- Retrograde ejaculation – where ejaculated sperm goes into the urinary bladder instead of out through the urethra.
- Blockages in the vas deferens – due to injury or reversed vasectomy
- Poor-quality sperm – for a wide range of reasons, such as an unhealthy lifestyle
Abnormalities in the sperm can be caused by:
- Health & lifestyle factors such as smoking, excessive drinking, drugs including steroids and recreational use, and weight and Body Mass Index
- Past medical conditions such as an undescended testes, hernia, STD or severe trauma.
- Acute viral illness can also temporarily affect sperm health
- Genetic disease such as cystic fibrosis or a chromosomal abnormality
Male fertility & age
While the affect of age on a man’s fertility is not as significant as it is with women, there is a decline in the quality of sperm after the age of 45. The miscarriage rate, risk of autism and mental health disorders, and time to pregnancy also increases as the male partner ages.
Diagnosis of male infertility
Assessment of male fertility is primarily achieved through a semen analysis. Find out more about male fertility tests >
Treatment for male infertility
The semen analysis results are evaluated by a doctor along with the couples’ history and the female investigation results, and these are all taken into consideration when making a diagnosis and recommendation for treatment. Find out more about fertility treatments >
When to seek help
If you have a medical history of conditions that affect the male reproductive system, or you have been trying to conceive for more than 12 months (or 6 months if you are over 35 years of age) without success, we recommend you book an appointment with a fertility specialist.