Health Library

Male infertility

There are a number of reasons why a man may have problems with fertility. A doctor can help find the cause. 

Millions of Americans are affected by infertility. It may result from female factors, male factors or both.

Male infertility can be caused by:

  • Disease.
  • Unhealthy or immature sperm.
  • Low sperm count.
  • Smoking cigarettes or marijuana.
  • Frequent hot tub use.
  • Using a wheelchair.
  • Infection.
  • Medications.
  • Stress.
  • A varicocele, or enlargement of veins in the scrotum.

Because there are so many possible causes, evaluation must be thorough. Most men undergoing an evaluation for infertility will go through these steps:

An interview about sexual and medical history.

A complete physical exam that focuses on signs of hormone production and overall health. It may include an examination of the testes and prostate.

A semen analysis, which looks at sperm count, movement, shape, volume and thickness.

If and when a diagnosis is made, treatment often includes medication or surgery.

Evaluation, diagnosis and treatment for infertility can feel invasive, uncomfortable or discouraging. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommends sharing questions or concerns with your partner and your doctor.

Treatment often results in a successful pregnancy.

Reviewed 9/13/2021

Related stories

This information is provided for educational purposes only. Individuals should always consult with their healthcare providers regarding medical care or treatment, as recommendations, services or resources are not a substitute for the advice or recommendation of an individual's physician or healthcare provider. Services or treatment options may not be covered under an individual's particular health plan.