Male Infertility

The most common causes of male infertility include azoospermia (no sperm cells are produced) and oligospermia (few sperm cells are produced). Sometimes, sperm cells are malformed or they die before they can reach the egg. In rare cases, male infertility is caused by a genetic disease such as cystic fibrosis or a chromosomal abnormality.


Infertility causes

The problems of infertility arre faced from the time of evolution of man and will probably remain with us forever. Little is added every year to the present understanding more remains unknown.

Childlessness is generally a tragedy to the married woman and can be a cause of marital upset as well as personal unhappiness and ill health. Infertility means inabiltiy of a couple to conceive. In case of a man it is inability to procreate and in case of a woman it is inability to conceive.

The goals of evaluating infertile couples are to determine the cause of infertility and hence make recommendations about the treatments available and evaluate the chances that such treatments will help. In approximately 30% of infertile couples, the cause is identified only in the female and in 30% the cause is identified only in the male. In 30% of couples, causes can be detected in both partners. In about 10% of cases, the underlying cause is not yet found by the current diagnostic methods.


Causes of male infertility :

Factors relating only to male infertility include :

Pretesticular causes

  • Hypogonadism due to various causes
  • Drugs, alcohol, smoking 
  • Strenuous riding (bicycle riding, horseback riding)

Testicular factors : Testicular factors of male infertility include:

  • Bad Semen Quality
  • Oligospermia - low semen volume
  • Oligozoospermia - few spermatozoa in semen
  • Aspermia - complete lack of semen
  • Azoospermia - absence of sperm cells in semen
  • Teratospermia - sperm with abnormal morphology
  • Asthenozoospermia - reduced sperm motility

There are various combinations of these as well, e.g. Teratoasthenozoospermia, which is reduced sperm morphology and motility.


Factors that, in turn, affect the semen quality include :

  • Age 
  • Genetic defects on the Y chromosome
  • Y chromosome microdeletions 
  • Abnormal set of chromosomes
  • Klinefelter syndrome
  • Neoplasm, e.g. seminoma
  • Idiopathic failure
  • Cryptorchidism
  • Varicocele (14% in one study)
  • Trauma
  • Hydrocele
  • Mumps
  • Malaria
  • Testicular dysgenesis syndrome 
  • Defects in USP26 in some cases

Posttesticular causes

  • Vas deferens obstruction
  • Lack of Vas deferens, often related to genetic markers for Cystic Fibrosis
  • Infection, e.g. prostatitis
  • Retrograde ejaculation
  • Ejaculatory duct obstruction
  • Hypospadias
  • Impotence
  • Acrosomal defect/egg penetration defect

Infertility is also thought to be passed on to the son from the father.


Male Infertility


Female Infertility


Diagnosis Male


Diagnosis Female