Christmas Sale Now On!
🎁View our festive offers here 🎁

🎁 Christmas Sale Now On! View our festive offers here 🎁

BLACK FRIDAY – Up to 50% Off Tests, Refills & Supplements

Male Infertility Causes

Male Infertility Causes

We use Advanced AI to translate our blog content. If the translation isn’t perfect, or if you have any queries about the content, our medical team is readily available to answer. Simply email [email protected]

What are the most common male infertility causes?

Male infertility refers to the man’s inability to cause pregnancy in a fertile female. There may be no other obvious signs or symptoms.

For a male to naturally conceive with a female, sperm cells need to reach and fertilize the eggs that are present in the female tract. Causes of male infertility can be one or more of the following:

  • Low sperm production
  • Blockages that prevent the delivery of sperm to the female tract
  • Abnormal sperm function (lack of movement, inability to fertilize the egg)

Male reproductive system diagram

The figure shows where you can find the most common male infertility causes:

A) In the testes where sperm is produced and matured. Internal processes (increased body temperature or hormonal imbalance) in the body as well as external factors (environmental toxins, bad lifestyle habits) affects spermatogenesis.

B) A problem of the sperm transportation to the vagina can be classified in three main categories: Congenital disorders (like CBAVD), acquired disorders (like inflammation, infection, varicocele, surgery) and functional obstruction (nerve damage, medication).

C) Several things causes low sperm motility. Most common causes are overheating the testicles, tobacco smoking, medical condition or genetic issue.

The sperm pathway -beginning with the sperm cells being produced in the testes and all the way to the semen being ejaculated- can be affected by these conditions. Illnesses, injuries, genetics, chronic health problems, lifestyle choices, and other factors can play a role in causing male infertility. 30-35% of the cases have unexplained causes. This means  that the doctor cannot find a direct reason for the infertility.

You can find the most normal causes of infertility below.

Sperm transportation or delivery Issues 


Retrograde Ejaculation

Retrograde Ejaculation Men suffering from this condition ejaculate very little or no semen at all during orgasm. This is because the semen enters the bladder instead of emerging through the penis. Usually conditions like diabetes or certain surgeries (involving the bladder, prostate, or urethra) result in retrograde ejaculation. This affects the normal pathway of the semen from the testicles to the urethra.




This is a congenital condition where the opening of the urethra is on the outside of the penis instead of the tip. Depending on where the urethra opening is, fertility issues can occur. The explanation for that is simply that the semen during ejaculation (and intercourse) is not properly placed near the female cervix where sperm cells can swim up and into the uterus and meet the egg. The condition can be treated surgically whereby male fertility issues can be solved entirely.


CBAVD (Congenital Bilateral Aplasia of Vas Deferens)

CBAVD (Congenital Bilateral Aplasia of Vas Deferens)

This condition occurs in males when the tubes that carry sperm out of the testes (vas deferens) fail to develop properly. The testes usually develop and function normally but it is not possible to  transport the sperm cells through the vas deferens to become part of semen. As a result, men with this condition are infertile because of their inability to ejaculate a semen sample.


Sexual issues

Sexual issues 1 in 10 men has a problem related to having sex. This can be premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction or pain during intercourse. Having one of these conditions might not make it possible to reach orgasm and ejaculation, which makes it difficult to deliver sperm cells to the female tract. The causes of sexual issues can be physical (heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure) or psychological (anxiety about sexual performance, stress, unresolved issues or depression). If you are able to resolve the under the underlying reason of the sexual issue, you can improve fertility.


Sperm quality issues & male infertility

Some men have a low sperm quality, which can be either a poor production of sperm cells or abnormalities of their sperm cells. This results in low sperm motility and potentially a low fertilization ability.

Varicocele Varicocele

A varicocele is a swelling caused by enlarged veins. Although the exact reason that varicoceles cause infertility is unknown, it may be related to abnormal testicular temperature regulation. Varicoceles result in reduced quality of the sperm



Cryptorchidism Cryptorchidism

An undescended testicle (cryptorchidism) is a testicle that hasn’t moved into the scrotum. It is the most common birth defect of the male genital tract. An undescended testicle is exposed to internal body temperature and this impairs normal sperm production and maturation.

Hormonal imbalances Hormonal imbalances
Sperm production is dependent on normal testosterone, LH, and FSH levels. If one or several of these sex hormones are at low levels, sperm production can be impaired.




Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea can affect sperm motility and count [1] [2] [3]. This is especially the case of recurrent infections or untreated conditions.


Lifestyle and environmental factors

Lifestyle and environmental factors
In addition to the above factors, lifestyle can contribute to lowering sperm concentration and motility. Tobacco smoking, obesity, excessive exposure to heat, emotional stress, unhealthy diet, and toxins can have a negative impact on overall quality (e.g. concentration and motility) as well as the sperm DNA. All of these factors seem decrease sperm production and quality via the impact of oxidative stress, leading to difficulties in natural conception.


Healthy lifestyle habits with a healthy diet and plenty of  antioxidants can improve sperm motility, concentration, and DNA.

When do you need to see a doctor?

See a doctor if you have been unable to conceive a child after a year of regular, unprotected intercourse. If you have any of the below symptoms and conditions, you need to consult your doctor sooner:

  • Semen analysis revealing low semen quality
  • Erection or ejaculation problems, low sex drive, or other problems with sexual function
  • Pain, discomfort, a lump, or swelling in the testicle area
  • A history of testicle, prostate, or sexual problems
  • A groin, testicle, penis, or scrotum surgery

With the ExSeed home sperm analysis kit you are able to know how healthy your sperm cells are. If your sperm quality is low one of the above most common male infertility causes can be found.

Test now at home, easy and totally private, and don’t hesitate to write us on [email protected] if having any questions about male fertility.

ExSeed home sperm test kit 2 test
ExSeed Home Sperm Test Kit (2 tests)


Refill Kit Monthly Subscription

£24.99 / month

Christmas Combi
ExSeed Combi


ExSeed home sperm test kit 2 test
ExSeed Home Sperm Test Kit (2 tests)


Christmas Combi
ExSeed Combi


Christmas 5 test refill
ExSeed Refill Kit (5 tests)


More to explore

Wearing tight pants and underwear

Studies show that men who wear looser underwear have higher sperm concentration and total sperm count compared to men who wear tighter underwear. So, lose the tight clothes and wear something loose to give your testicles some air.

CONCLUSION: learn more about how heat can affect sperm quality here.


Besides higher mortality rate and various diseases, stress is associated with low sperm quality. Stress is known to be associated with lower testosterone levels and oxidative stress with both playing an essential role in producing and maintaining healthy sperm cells.

CONCLUSION: If you feel stressed, we recommend you get some help so you can have a balanced mental health. For a stress management guide, download the ExSeed app for free and start your personalized action plan today.

Physical activity

Scientific studies show that men who are physically active have better semen parameters than men who are inactive. Fertility specialists also state that regular physical activity has beneficial impact on sperm fertility parameters and such a lifestyle can enhance the fertility status of men.

Prioritizing exercise can help improve your overall health and result in healthy, fast swimming sperm cells that have good chances of fertilizing an egg.

CONCLUSION: Try incorporating exercise in your weekly schedule to you ensure exercising at least twice weekly. We recommend a combination of cardio training and strength exercise. Read more about exercise and male fertility on our blog.


Fast Food
Processed foods damage the health of sperm-producing cells and cause oxidative stress, which lead to poorer sperm quality. Heavy consumption of junk food (every week) can increase the likelihood of infertility since men who consume vast amounts of unhealthy food are at risk of having poor sperm quality. Besides harming your fertility, junk food enlarges your waistline, harms your cardiovascular system, kidneys, and more.

Eating more fruit and vegetables can increase your sperm concentration and motility. It’s important that you consume a healthy diet filled with antioxidants and that you eat vegetables every day. Foods such as apricots and red bell peppers are high in vitamin A, which improves male fertility by nurturing healthier sperm. Men who are deficient in this vitamin tend to have slow and sluggish sperm.

Sugary snacks/beverages: several times a week Excessive consumption of high sugar items can lead to oxidative stress, which negatively impacts testosterone levels and sperm motility. Sugary snacks and beverages are also highly associated with obesity and low fertility.
CONCLUSION: To boost sperm quality, stay away from fast food, processed food, and sugary snacks or beverages. You need to implement a healthy prudent diet filled with necessary superfoods needed for good sperm production. Check out our guide to Male Fertility Superfoods. For personalized guidance and support on how you can start improving your sperm health, check out the Bootcamp.


Direct heat can inhibit optimal sperm production and cause Sperm DNA damage. Sperm cells like environments that are a couple of degrees lower than body temperature. Avoid overheating from warm blankets, seat warmers, heat from your laptop, hot showers, and saunas.

Cigarette smoking

The exposure to tobacco smoke has significant negative effects on semen quality. The damage of cigarettes and nicotine of course depends on how many cigarettes you smoke per day and for how long, but even low usage (up to 10 cigarettes / day) can inhibit healthy sperm production.  

CONCLUSION: Stay as far away from cigarette smoking as possible if you care about your general health and your fertility. Read more here.

Cell phone

When you have your cell phone in your front pocket, your testicles are exposed to electromagnetic radiation, which studies have shown to damage the sperm cells. Put your phone in the back pocket of your pants or in your jacket pocket.


There is a clear association between obesity and reduced sperm quality. At least part of the reason for this is that obese men may have abnormal reproductive hormonal profiles, which can impair sperm production and lead to infertility. 

A BMI higher than 30 can lead to several processes in the body (overheating, increase in oxidative stress in the testes, sperm DNA damage, erectile dysfunction) that can have a negative impact on male fertility. This can result in problems when trying to conceive.  

CONCLUSION: BMI is one of the risk factors that influence semen quality and, for example, sperm motility.  


A beer or glass of wine now and then do not really harm sperm quality. But excess alcohol drinking (more than 20 units per week) can reduce the production of normally formed sperm needed for a successful pregnancy.

CONCLUSION: If you want to stay safe, stay under 14 units of alcohol per week. For more information on how alcohol can affect male fertility, take a look at our blog: “Alcohol and Sperm Quality”.


Studies show that women younger than 35 and men younger than 40 have a better chance of getting pregnant. Men can produce sperm cells almost through their entire life, but the sperm cell DNA is more fragile and prone to damage after the age of 40.

As men age, their testes tend to get smaller and softer resulting in a decline in sperm quality and production. These changes are partly because of an age-related decrease in testosterone level, which plays a very important role in sperm

production. Higher male age (>40 years) is not only associated with a decline in sperm production but also with increased sperm DNA fragmentation and worsened morphology (shape) and motility (movement). These negative effects make the sperm cells less qualified for egg fertilization.

CONCLUSION: with an age under 40, you shouldn’t have to worry much about age as a factor in itself. However, studies have shown a slow decline after the age of 30-35 years

and if you are above 40 years of age, your sperm quality can be affected due to increased sperm DNA damage resulting in a decrease of sperm motility and concentration. Remember that you cannot evaluate the quality of a sperm sample by just looking at it – this requires a sperm analysis.