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.

You Might Also Enjoy...

The Importance of Tests Before Tubal Reversal

Reversing the effects of a tubal ligation is an increasingly viable option for many women seeking to have a child. Our expert explains the procedure and the need for a fertility evaluation and other tests in advance of the surgery.

What a Semen Analysis Can Tell Us

When you’re concerned about fertility, the process of finding out what is causing it can seem overwhelming. Our team is committed to breaking it down for you in easily understood steps. Here’s what you need to know about the semen analysis.

What Does a Basic Infertility Workup Entail?

Confused about infertility treatments and how to get started? Our nationally recognized team explains the basics, starting with an infertility workup and how we proceed from there to help make your dreams reality.

What Every Woman Should Know About Her Eggs

Have you ever wondered what’s happening to your eggs before they get started on that long journey down your fallopian tubes? And how does that relate to fertility? Our expert explains.

Are Some People More at Risk of Infertility Than Others?

You may be surprised to learn that infertility is a relatively common issue that affects about 15% of couples who’ve been trying to conceive for at least a year. Learn the common risk factors for infertility and how a specialist can help.

What Does Home Insemination Entail?

Home insemination is one of the many effective treatments available to people who are experiencing fertility issues. A nationwide leader in Reproductive Endocrinology discusses the procedure and the potential benefits of home insemination.