Male Infertility


Male infertility is inability to make a female pregnant

Male infertility is regarded as the inability of a male to make a fertile female pregnant after one year of regular, unprotected intercourse.
About 10 – 15 % of couples suffer from some form of infertility. In any given year about 15% of couples who are trying to conceive in North America discover that they have difficulty doing so.
Usually, 75% of couples achieve pregnancy within 6 months. After 1 year 85% of couples have usually achieved pregnancy and within 2 years 90% of couples would have achieved pregnancy. After 2 years of not conceiving it is best to seek medical intervention. Older couples are encouraged to seek medical advice earlier


Risk Factors increasing male infertility

The following are not necessary a cause of male infertility but they do increase chances of infertility. They are important to keep in mind as possible contributing or aggravating factors.


Excessive alcohol consumption reduces testosterone level in the blood

  • Smoking
  • Smoking decreases sperm motility and decreases the amount of sperm produced. According to studies, smoking can decrease sperm production by up to 23% and decrease sperm motility by 13%.

  • Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
  • Excessive alcohol consumption reduces testosterone level in the blood. Other hormones involved in reproduction are also adversely affected by alcohol.

  • Obesity
  • Obesity affects sperm quality, decreases libido and can also be a cause of erectile dysfunction. Being obese increases a man’s chances for infertility.

  • Zinc deficiency
  • Having a zinc deficiency inhibits spermatogenesis which means that is hinders the production of new sperm cells. Zinc deficiency is usually as a result of a nutritional deficiency but can also be the result of chronic diarrhoea, chronic renal and liver disease, heavy metal exposure, diabetes and cancer.

  • History of sexually transmitted diseases
  • Untreated STDs can damage the male reproductive tract like the epididymis and the urethra. This can increase the man’s risk for infertility.

  • Being exposed to toxins
  • Environmental and occupational exposure to toxic substances can be a contributing factor in male infertility.

  • Overheating the testicles
  • Spermatogenesis or sperm production is dependent on a certain temperature. Increasing the temperature of the testes by any means reduces sperm production and sperm quality. The optimal temperature for the production of sperm is 2 to 3°C lower than body temperature. Therefor the optimal temperature of the testicles for spermatogenesis to take place is 34°C.

  • Having a prior vasectomy or vasectomy reversal
  • Although it is possible to reverse vasectomies, it does increase a man’s risk for infertility even after reversal.

  • Having a blood relative with a fertility disorder
  • If there is a genetic reason for infertility in the family it could increase the risk for infertility.

  • Medical conditions
  • There are many medical conditions which increase the patient’s risk for infertility. Common medical diseases associated with infertility are hypertension and diabetes but almost any medical ailment can possibly contribute to infertility.

  • Medical treatments and procedures
  • Taking certain medications or undergoing certain medical treatments can increase the risk of infertility. An example is chemotherapy and radiation in the treatment of cancer.

  • Certain sports and activities
  • Cycling or horseback riding for a prolonged period of time especially on a hard seat can increase a man’s risk of developing problems with infertility.