Male infertility can be caused by various things such as medical issues or environmental factors. In most cases, male infertility is caused by negatively affecting these important factors that are associated with male fertility:
- Sperm production: Your body needs to produce enough testosterone and other hormones to maintain the production of healthy sperm. In addition, you need to have at least one functioning testicle.
- The proper mixing of sperm with semen: Once the sperm is produced in the testicles, they move through special tubes to eventually be mixed with semen. Afterward, they will eventually be ejaculated out of the penis.
- A normal amount of sperm: A lower than normal sperm count / concentration will decrease the chance of fertilization of your partner’s egg. Note: A low sperm count is considered to be fewer than 15 million sperm per milliliter of semen or fewer than 39 million per ejaculate.
- Good sperm mobility: The sperm motility or function allows the sperm to be able to reach and penetrate your partner’s egg and lead to fertilization.
Medical Causes Of Male Infertility
Male infertility can be caused by medical or health issues. Medical or health issues that affect male fertility include:
- Varicocele (the most common cause of male infertility)
- Infections (inflammation of the epididymis (epididymitis) or testicles (orchitis) and some sexually transmitted infections (STD) like gonorrhea or HIV
- Ejaculation issues (Retrograde ejaculation)
- Antibodies that attack sperm
- Tumors and in some cases, surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy can affect male fertility.
- Undescended testicles
- Hormone imbalances (male hypogonadism)
- Defects of tubules that transport sperm
- Chromosome defects (Klinefelter’s syndrome, cystic fibrosis, Kallmann’s syndrome, and Kartagener’s syndrome)
- Problems during sexual intercourse like difficulty maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction), premature ejaculation, painful intercourse, urethral opening beneath the penis (hypospadias), or psychological or relationship issues
- Celiac disease
- Certain medications
- Prior surgeries (vasectomy, inguinal hernia repairs, scrotal or testicular surgeries, prostate surgeries, etc.)
Environmental Causes Of Male Infertility
In addition to medical conditions, there are some environmental causes of male infertility. These conditions include:
- Industrial chemicals (benzenes, toluene, xylene, pesticides, herbicides, organic solvents, painting materials, etc.)
- Heavy metal exposure (lead, cadmium, or mercury)
- Radiation or X-rays
- Overheating the testicles or around the scrotum
Other Causes Of Male Infertility
In some cases, male infertility could be from other causes. These could even include life choices. Here are other causes that can negatively affect male fertility:
- Drugs (anabolic steroids, cocaine, marijuana, etc.)
- Tobacco smoking
- Emotional stress.