Male Infertility

Male infertility overview

For a man to be fertile, his sperm cells must be healthy and be transported to their destination – the egg. Most cases of male infertility are due to sperm abnormalities, yet any of the following can play a role:

  • Low sperm count
  • Abnormally shaped sperm cells
  • Sperm that are immobile or have impaired movement
  • Impaired delivery of sperm
Mother kissing little baby at home

Breaking Barriers, Building Families

Since 1983, we have pioneered fertility treatment for every kind of family. We want to help you achieve your dream of having a baby.

Request appointment

Sperm basics

Fertilization depends on sperm that are properly shaped (morphology) and able to move (motility) rapidly and accurately toward the egg. Impaired motility and morphology can result in sperm not reaching the egg.

Sperm count or concentration refers to the number of sperm cells per milliliter of semen.

Men with 10 million or fewer sperm per milliliter are considered sub-fertile. Approximately 20 million or higher is considered average; 40 million sperm or higher per milliliter indicates increased fertility.

Video explaining male infertility

Causes of male infertility

One cause of infertility is problems with reproductive organs and related glands. In some cases, conditions that were present at birth can affect a man’s later fertility. Surgery performed during childhood to correct abnormalities in the reproductive system can affect fertility as well.

The following are some examples of conditions that can impact either the production or delivery of healthy sperm:

  • Congenital absence of the vas deferens (CAVD)
  • Undescended testes, also known as cryptorchidism
  • Hypospadias
  • Kallmann’s syndrome
  • Klinefelter syndrome
  • Sertoli-cell only syndrome

Klinefelter syndrome and Sertoli-cell only syndrome have no known medical treatment unless sperm can be identified and extracted via different retrieval techniques.

Learn more about causes of male infertility

Advanced Paternal Age

Studies indicate men may also have a biological clock and should consider parenthood before they turn 40 - for fertility reasons, as well as lessening the chances of birth defects and developmental disorders.

Diethylstilbestrol (DES) Sons

Men born to women who took DES - a medication once prescribed to prevent miscarriage or premature delivery - while pregnant have a slightly higher risk of abnormalities and non-cancerous epididymal cysts and auto-immune disorders.

Genetic Causes of Male Infertility

Genetic anomalies can be the cause of severe sperm abnormalities in men. For most of these men to become fathers, they will need intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) with IVF.

Sperm Health

As fertility treatment has become more focused on the cellular level, important differences in sperm cells have become recognized as crucial to fertility.

Related Fertility Edge Podcast: Male Age & Fertility