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)
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
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)
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.