Causes of Male Infertility

Enlist an Expert for a Thorough Evaluation of the Causes of Male Infertility

When a couple contacts our Austin fertility center for help with starting a family, they can expect to schedule a consultation and a semen analysis for the male partner. Our investigation always includes both partners because male factors are responsible for nearly half of all cases of infertility. For most men, a change in daily habits, low level hormonal treatment, or minimal laboratory assistance will be enough to boost fertility and enable successful conception to occur.

We may recommend male fertility treatment in our TFC Austin, Round Rock, South Austin, or San Antonio fertility clinics. Knowing what to expect during treatment depends on the individual causes of male infertility, which usually results from one or more of the following:

  • Anatomical issues
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Sperm disorders
  • Lifestyle factors

Anatomical Causes of Male Infertility

An obvious sign that something is amiss may lead you to one of our fertility specialists. A testicular mass or a varicocele (a group of dilated veins draining the testicle) should raise a red flag and initiate a call to our office. Similarly, a history of previous scrotal or pelvic surgery or trauma, a spinal injury, or a chronic condition such as diabetes may also alert you to potential problems with conception.

Texas Fertility Center routinely works with Austin’s finest male fertility specialists to diagnose and treat anatomical causes of male infertility, including:

  • Varicocele. A condition that can adversely affect testicular temperature and sperm quality. A varicocele is present in up to 40 percent of men with fertility problems.
  • Obstruction. A blockage in the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the penis, causing infertility. Previous infection, surgery, cystic fibrosis, or certain types of birth defects can cause obstruction.
  • Erectile dysfunction. Sexual dysfunction can stem from medical conditions, neurovascular problems, or psychological factors and can interfere with fertility.
  • Chromosome abnormalities or birth defects. These problems can interfere with sperm production or delivery of sperm to/through the penis, leading to infertility.

Endocrine Factors that Cause Male Infertility

Hormonal signals from the brain control the production of sperm, sexual urges and distribution of sperm. Simple blood tests will reveal any abnormalities, and your fertility specialist can then recommend an effective course of treatment for hormonal causes of male infertility.

Several endocrine abnormalities can lead to low testosterone – which can adversely affect both a man’s sex drive and his sperm production. Using simple medications, we can usually correct this deficiency, restore libido back to normal, and significantly improve sperm production – often back to normal levels. Please see our sections on common causes of Low T and Low T treatments for more information.

Sperm Disorders Are a Leading Cause of Male Infertility

A man’s ability to produce viable sperm can be affected by many factors as time passes. Undescended testicles or inherited genetic conditions can affect reproductive potential, as can certain types of infections – specifically STDs.

Lifestyle Factors that Contribute to Male Infertility

Your initial fertility workup will include a questionnaire to comprehensively address potential causes of male infertility. Your TFC male fertility specialist will want to know:

  • Do you smoke cigarettes or use illegal drugs?
  • Are you exposed to toxic chemicals or heavy metals at work?
  • How often do you use a sauna or hot tub?
  • How often do you work out; do you cycle excessively; do you use any performance enhancing drugs?
  • Is your daily stress level manageable?

Diagnostic Evaluation of Male Infertility

The cornerstone test in the evaluation of male factor infertility is a semen analysis. As part of this simple test, our andrologists assess sperm number (concentration), the percentage of sperm that are actively swimming (motility) and the percent of sperm that have a normal appearance (morphology).

Our state of the art andrology laboratory also has the ability to perform special tests of sperm function, as well as test for the presence of anti-sperm antibodies. In rare cases, such as after a testicular injury, a man’s immune system can produce proteins (sperm antibodies) that can attack his own sperm and inhibit their ability to swim or bind to an egg – causing immunologic infertility.

A man’s overall health and weight are often good indicators of fertility potential; at Texas Fertility Center, we want to help you reach yours. Contact us for a fertility assessment to identify the causes of male infertility and a treatment plan uniquely designed for you.