Male Infertility

This is a common problem for men and people assigned to a male at birth (AMAB). However, if you experience infertility and you are a man, different treatment options are available. These treatments increase your chances of conception.

What is Male Infertility?

However, infertility is a big problem for both men and women. Male infertility usually occurs when a man loses the ability to impregnate a female or people assigned to a female at birth (AFAB). Physicians diagnose this condition when you have unprotected sexual intercourse for a longer time and your partner still cannot get pregnant.

The most common cause of a female cannot get pregnant is due to male infertility. Moreover, roughly 186 million people suffer from infertility around the world. In addition, approximately 10-15% of males are affected by infertility in the U.S.

Is it Easy to Conceive?

Generally, humans are considered a species with decreased reproductive capacity. For example, a young couple has a 20-25% chance of conceiving during 30 days of unprotected sexual intercourse.

There are many different factors that make conception a complicated process. Examples include:

  • The ability of the fertilized egg to implant in the uterus
  • Unblocked fallopian tubes, which allow to reach the egg
  • Creating healthy male reproductive cells (sperm) and a healthy female reproductive cell (egg)
  • Sperm’s ability to fertilize the egg

A healthy embryo and female hormonal environment are required for pregnancy to continue full term (approximately 39 to 41 weeks). In case one of the previous factors is negatively affected, infertility may happen.


The main symptom of male infertility is the inability to have a biological child. However, male infertility can provoke certain psychological and emotional symptoms. For example:

  • Failure
  • Inadequacy
  • Grief
  • Loss
  • Depression
  • Anxiety and others

It is recommended to consult a therapist or psychiatrist if you experience any of the symptoms listed above.

A decreased testosterone production by the testicles also may cause male infertility. In such cases, tiredness, impotence, weight gain, apathy, and mental disorders can appear. A person with previous symptoms should see an urologist or reproductive endocrinologist.


Different biological and environmental factors can negatively affect male fertility. Examples include:

  • Semen issues (such as oligospermia, azoospermia, and malformed sperm)
  • Genetic problems (such as myotonic dystrophy, Klinefelter syndrome, and others)
  • Diseases (including diabetes, autoimmune conditions, cystic fibrosis, and others)
  • Certain infections (such as sexually transmitted infections, orchitis, epididymitis, and others)
  • Varicoceles (swollen veins in the testicles)
  • Trauma or injury of the testicles
  • Hormonal disorders that could impact your pituitary glands and hypothalamus

Whom Does Male Infertility Affect?

Everyone can experience fertility problems. However, the following factors may increase your risk of infertility. Check below some examples:

  • Are older than 40s
  • Have an increased body weight (overweight)
  • Obesity
  • Exposure to toxins (such as lead, calcium, pesticides, or mercury)
  • Misuse of alcohol, marijuana (cannabis), or tobacco products
  • Medicines (including Flutamide, Spironolactone, and Bicalutamide)
  • Spend much time in places where heat around testicles increases (such as saunas)
  • Medical history of undescended testes or varicoceles
  • Follow treatment for decreased testosterone levels
  • Use anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) or any supplement that contains traces of hormones for building muscle mass

Is Healthy Sperm Runny or Thick?

Usually, a healthy semen is thick and sticky. In case it is watery or runny it may be a sign of decreased sperm count, which may lead to male infertility.


In most cases, a primary care physician (PCP) can diagnose male infertility. In some special cases, you should visit an urologist or reproductive endocrinologist. The PCP will perform a physical examination to verify if you have any physical problems that can impact your fertility. Thereafter, your doctor may ask you and your partner some questions about your sexual habits and medical history. Examples include:

  • Do you drink alcohol, smoke, or use over-the-counter or recreational drugs?
  • How long have you tried to get your partner pregnant?
  • Have you experienced an STI and received treatment?
  • Have you used birth control methods (contraceptives) and when?
  • Have you gotten your partner pregnant in the past?

Additionally, doctors may order you to do some tests that will help to diagnose male infertility. For example:

One primary test is semen analysis. It is a laboratory test that takes a semen sample to determine the quality and volume of the sperm. Check below some other tests:

  • Imaging tests (such as ultrasound, MRI, venogram, and others)
  • Blood tests (these tests are done to check hormone levels and for abnormalities with your chromosomes or genes)
  • Urinalysis (this test is used to identify whether you have STIs or diabetes or not)
  • Testicular biopsy (It helps to check how well your testes produce sperm)

For more details, discuss it with your healthcare professional.


Fortunately, several treatments are available to treat male infertility. However, the treatment is based on the severity of the condition, your age and response to treatment, and others. For example:


Medication treatment involves hormone therapy that helps to balance hormone levels if they are too high or low. In case you use the following medicines, you should interrupt using them during hormone therapy. For example:

  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Anti-androgens

Lifestyle Changes

The following lifestyle changes can help to improve healthy sperm production. For example:

  • Managing stress
  • Interrupt using tobacco and alcoholic products and nonprescription or recreational drugs
  • Regular physical activity is advised (such as jogging, bicycling, dancing, lifting weights, walking, and others)
  • Include in your diet more fruits and vegetables
  • It is recommended to stay at a healthy weight
  • Avoid using sexual lubricants during sexual activity


Check below some surgical treatments:

  • Varicocelectomy – The surgery removes the varicose veins from the scrotum because they may negatively affect sperm quality.
  • Sperm Retrieval – This procedure involves a biopsy to retrieve sperm from the testes or epididymis.
  • Vasoepididymostomy – It is a surgery in which is removed a blockage in the epididymis.
  • Vasectomy Reversal – This procedure reconnects your vas deferens after a vasectomy. This helps to make your partner pregnant again.

Assisted Reproductive Technology

ART also called Assisted Reproductive Technology involves the removal of an egg from a female’s ovaries and combining it with the male’s sperm in the laboratory. For example:

  • Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
  • In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible that male infertility go away on its own?

Generally, it is not possible. In most cases, males need treatment. Ask your healthcare professional if you have any questions.

How to prevent male fertility problems?

The following tips can help to prevent or avoid male infertility. Examples include:

  • Avoid alcohol, smoking, and recreational drugs
  • Limit the exposure to toxic chemicals
  • Limit or avoid foods rich in fats
  • Keep a healthy weight

Discuss with your doctor for more details.

What foods should I avoid when suffering from male infertility?

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Canned fish
  • Dairy products
  • Soy
  • Processed meats
  • Sweets

However, you can add the following foods to your diet. Check below some examples:

  • Fresh fruits
  • Legumes
  • Lean fish
  • Low-fat milk
  • Dried fruits
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