Male infertility

For men, the factors that are important for fertility include semen volume, sperm concentration, sperm movement, and sperm shape. If sperm quality is low, for example the rate of movement is low or the shape is abnormal, infertility may occur. Sperm may also be absent, often due to a blocked or missing vas deferens – the tube that carries sperm from the testes to the urethra (the tube inside the penis).

What causes male infertility?

Some reasons a man might have trouble with fertility include:

  • A history of sexually transmitted infections
  • Past treatments for cancer
  • Some chronic illnesses and their treatments (for example, diabetes)
  • Tobacco, alcohol and cannabis use
  • Opioid use
  • Being underweight or overweight
  • A testicle injury
  • Genetic causes
  • Exposure to certain environmental or occupational toxins

Is there treatment for male infertility?

The initial steps of medical treatment will involve semen and sperm analysis, and possibly genetic testing. Your health care provider may recommend some form of assisted reproductive technology. This may involve artificial or intrauterine insemination (semen is inserted into the woman’s vagina or cervix, or washed sperm are inserted into the uterus through a catheter), in vitro fertilization (bringing the sperm and egg together outside the body) or ovarian stimulation.