What are the Most Common Causes of Male Infertility?

 Did you know that up to one-third of infertility cases are related directly to the male partner? Learn the most common cause

Infertility can be a challenging topic to discuss. Couples may face sadness over their fertility problems in starting or growing their families. If you’ve been trying for six months to get pregnant and haven’t succeeded, you should consider seeing a fertility specialist. It may help to know that 13% of couples face fertility issues, and 30% of women over the age of 40 have fertility issues. 

Most assume when there is a fertility problem the woman is to blame.  Many couples are surprised to learn that the fertility problems may be due to problems with the male partner. In fact, only one-third of infertility cases are because of the female partner, one-third because of the male partner, and the last third is because of a combination of both partners.

The most common causes of male infertility include:

Sperm issues

Good quality sperm is necessary to conceive naturally.  If a man’s testicles produce low quantities or a low quality of sperm, it could interfere with achieving pregnancy. Other sperm issues can include blockages in the tubes that carry the sperm. If the sperm can’t travel through the male reproductive tract due to blockages or motility issues, it can’t reach the egg. 

Erectile dysfunction

There are many reasons for ED, including physical, physiological, and biological. If you are trying to conceive and suffer from erectile dysfunction see your family physician or urologist for an evaluation.


Varicoceles is a common.  It occurs when the veins that drain the testicle are swollen. Because of this inflammation, sperm quality is diminished. Often IVF or inseminations are needed to improve infertility in men with large varicoceles. 

Blocked tubes

The sperm must travel through his testes to the penis for ejaculation. If there is blockage along the way, the sperm is unable to reach its destination to fertilize the egg. Blockages can be congenital (see in cystic fibrosis carriers) or acquired. 

Medications and lifestyle issues

Certain medications such as steroids, cancer drugs, and testosterone replacement therapy can impair sperm quality and production. Additionally, illicit drug, marijuana, alcohol use, smoking, stress, and depression can impact a man’s fertility. 

At Rocky Mountain Fertility Center, reproductive endocrinology and fertility specialist Deborah Smith, MD, can perform a semen analysis and other tests to help diagnose the cause of male infertility. Armed with a diagnosis, Dr. Smith recommends the best treatment options to help you start or grow your family.   

If you and your partner are having problems getting pregnant, arrange a consultation with Dr. Smith at one of Rocky Mountain Fertility Center’s locations in Parker/Englewood, Colorado and Rapid City, South Dakota. You can use the online booking feature, or call the practice. You can also send a message to Dr. Smith and her team on their website.

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