Male Infertility: What’s Causing It?

Wanda Rice

Male infertility is the term given to the condition in which a man is unable to get a female pregnant. In about a third of infertility cases of couples, males are at least partially responsible for the inability to conceive. The infertility associated with males can be due to low sperm count, malformed sperm and sperm motility.

Though men suffering from infertility do not usually notice obvious symptoms other than the inability to conceive despite regular unprotected sex, there are some symptoms that may occasionally accompany it due to the underlying causes. These include:

  • Swelling and pain in the testicles
  • Difficulty ejaculating, and reduced semen volume
  • Loss of libido

If you have been having trouble conceiving with your partner, or have been experiencing any of these additional symptoms, you should consult a professional as soon as possible. We recommend an Urologist in Islamabad if it is convenient.


Semen production is a complex process, and there are many different potential causes for infertility. Here are some of them:

Male Infertility

  • Coeliac Disease: This is an immune disorder that can target sperm cells. It is aggravated by the consumption of gluten.
  • Drug Use: Use of anabolic steroids can reduce testicle size and decrease sperm production. Cocaine and marijuana have also been shown to somewhat reduce sperm quality.
  • Alcohol Consumption: Excessive consumption can result in difficulty getting and maintaining an erection, and may also damage the liver, resulting in infertility.
  • Undescended Testicles: During normal foetal development, the testicles move from the abdomen to the scrotum. If this does not occur for one or more of the testicles, it could potentially cause infertility, and increase the risk of testicular cancer.
  • Sperm-specific Antibodies: Antibodies are immune cell-produced proteins that target potentially harmful particles in the body. Unfortunately, they can also target the body’s own cells, which can happen with sperm. This can drastically reduce sperm count, and hence, fertility.
  • Infections: Certain infections, such as that of the epididymis (epididymitis) and of the testicles (orchitis) can interfere with sperm production. Even sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhoea and HIV, may cause issues.
  • Obstruction of Tubules: There are many tubes that are responsible for delivering sperm from the testes to the urethra. Blockages of any of these paths can prevent sperm from mixing with seminal fluid and moving out of the body.
  • Hormonal Imbalance: Low testosterone levels as well as changes in other hormonal concentrations can reduce fertility. Different parts of the body may be responsible, from the testicles themselves in regards to testosterone production, to the pituitary, adrenal and thyroid glands, which are responsible for the production of many hormones.
  • Environmental Conditions: Exposure to heavy metals, chemicals such as herbicides and benzenes, harmful radiation like x-rays, and excessive heat (specifically on the testicles) can all cause infertility through the damage and reduction of sperm.
  • Mental Conditions: The importance of a sound mind cannot be understated. Stress and emotional distress can impact hormonal levels, as well as simply impact libido, and thus the ability to stimulate an erection.
  • Genetics: Unfortunately, infertility can also be the result of genetic traits. Chromosome defects and single gene mutations may be responsible.

There are many potential treatment options available depending on the cause of the infertility. These can range from medications, such as testosterone therapy,  to surgical procedures, such as those undertaken to remove obstructions.

If you’re considering any of these options, we suggest you consult a Top urologist in Islamabad, in order to pinpoint which treatment is best for you.

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