Approximately 15 percent of couples in the US are infertile, meaning they are not able to conceive even though they have been having unprotected sexual intercourse for more than a year. Fifty percent of cases are due to a male factor issue.
Male infertility is due to problems with sperm number, sperm quality, or a blockage in the reproductive tract. Illness, injury, chronic health issues, lifestyle choices, and other factors can play a role in male infertility.
- Certain endocrine disorders
- Overheating of the testicles (i.e. varicocele, chronic hot tub use)
- Spinal cord injury
- Past infections, including sexually transmitted diseases, mumps and prostatitis
- Exposure to toxic chemicals and heavy metals (e.g., lead and cadmium)
- Radiation treatment
- Tobacco and drug use
- History of undescended testicles
- Semen analysis (sperm number, shape, movement)
- Blood tests (reproductive hormones and testosterone)
- Ultrasound (of the scrotum or prostate)
- Biopsy of the testis may be required
Treatment for male infertility largely depends on the cause of the condition and can include:
- Lifestyle changes
- Medication to correct hormone balance or improve sperm number and quality
- Surgical treatment (varicocele repair, sperm aspiration, testicular sperm extraction, reconstruction such as epididymovasostomy)
- Assisted Reproductive Technologies (sperm retrieval coordinated with IVF for the female partner)
What is the Best Treatment for Male Infertility?